Gaming disorder


Walking around in a shopping centre or sitting in a restaurant, it has become such a common sight to see a child being entertained by an iPad or a mobile phone as their parents indulge in shopping or eat their food in peace; so common that it is almost negligible.

Even toddlers now know how not to hold the smartphone in their palms, lest the screen with the cartoon or game shuts down. Fascinating, isn’t it? Or is it actually worrying?

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Our new generations are growing up with a habit of deriving amusement and pleasure out of gadgets. Parents tend to appreciate this habit as it leaves them with more leisure time, but then comes a point when this habit of their children and young adults turns into an addiction; a psychological disorder, now officially termed as “gaming disorder” by the World Health Organisation.

“Gaming disorder is defined in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases as a pattern of gaming behavior [digital and video] 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,” says the World Health Organisation.

It will be interesting for our readers to know that the “International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is the basis for identification of health trends and statistics globally and the international standard for reporting diseases and health conditions. It is used by medical practitioners around the world to diagnose conditions and by researchers to categorise conditions.”

This means that mental issues generated by an addiction to video games have been classified as a mental disorder globally.

The National Health Service (NHS) of England and Wales announced the establishment of special clinics to deal with gaming disorder. This indicates the alarming scale of the problem.

How has the situation turned so alarming? Fiona Smith of Royal College of Nursing explains:

“As technology becomes more accessible and more advanced, it’s unsurprising that more and more young people are potentially being negatively affected by excessive screen time to the point where it effects their daily lives. The damage of addiction of any kind goes beyond the child or young person, causing distress to parents, families and friends.”

 “Whilst the NHS has a duty of care and is adapting to these modern challenges, it, and taxpayers, can’t foot the bill alone. Online gaming firms and global social media firms who make millions of pounds of profit must take more responsibility by keeping their platforms safe, and introduce safeguards to reduce the burden on the health service.”

(Fiona Smith is Professional Lead for Children and Young People at the Royal College of Nursing, London)

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa, Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, warned about the risks associated to games like Fortnite quite some time ago and has repeatedly done so on a number of occasions. As successor of the Messiah of the age, he strives not only for the well-being of his own community, but equally for that of humanity at large.

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa is on a mission to save the world from the destruction that it is heading towards. From national security of various countries to international politics, societal harmony to personal peace; his advice ranges across all global issues. To find out more, read World Crisis and the Pathway to Peace.

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