Playing internet video gaming has become the new rock or rap music – it’s the root cause of all evil.
That’s the impression one might get from a recent World Health Organization acceptance of “gaming disorder” in their list of global diseases. In the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases they define the ailment as:
“… a pattern of gaming behavior (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.
Ross Hudgins, who goes by the name MrBossFTW on his video gaming You Tube Channel, says he knows the type. “I knew people who took weeks off a work, who skipped school, who didn’t leave their office or man cave for days at a time because they were playing something like this,” he says in one video.
The disease, as it’s recognized by the WHO, afflicts less than one percent of the population. Hudgins says it’s all reminiscent of the way popular music was once classified as the source of violence, crime and mayhem. “People who are trying to push this narrative of gaming disorder as a serious mental illness is that video games are the problem for everything,” he suggests. “But at the end of the day what I really think is this is just blame-shifting other serious mental disorders on to video games.”
An appreciation for the social impact of internet addiction in all its forms is gaining in a wider acceptance in the medical community, though a consensus of exact definitions remains elusive. The American Psychiatric Association decided in 2013 not to classify Video Gaming Addiction (VGA) as an official mental disorder, putting it instead in the category “Conditions for Further Study.”