Gaming has become one of the largest industries in the world, bringing in $18.4 billion in revenue in 2017 for the United States alone.
But those hours spent online and in front of screens aren’t all fun and games, at least according to the World Health Organization (WHO): In their revised International Classification of Diseases list for 2018, WHO added a new section specifically for gaming disorders, under the “Disorders due to substance use or addictive behaviors” heading, which they classified as being “characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior.”
You can read it here: 6D11 Gaming disorder
In short, WHO has officially declared video game addiction a mental health disorder.
There is a happy medium, of course. There’s no need to consider a few hours online here and there reason for concern; no reason your gaming sessions with friends need to be considered anything more than basic social activity.
According to the report, it’s when “increasing priority [is] given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities” that gaming becomes a mental health threat.
Or gamers start smashing screens and keyboards and controllers and anything else in sight (site) when they lose. Or are just asked to stop playing because dinner is ready.
According to the report, “The behavior pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”
Once your all-nighters and nonstop gaming sessions become something that you need to survive, or keep you from school, family, and other functions, it might be time to start worrying.