Classifying video game addiction as a mental disorder is excessive

Classifying video game addiction as a mental disorder is excessive

Classifying video game addiction as a mental disorder is excessive
July 11
16:20 2018

The World Health Organization made a controversial decision recently to classify video game addiction as a mental disorder. Like with other addictions, the organization considers gaming an addiction when an individual uses it to escape from reality and ignore responsibilities.

Presumably, parents everywhere are rejoicing as they have received a genuine, scary reason to limit the time their children spend playing video games. On the other hand, some gamers are now in fear of undue judgment. Parents will jump to conclusions without accurate consultation, and kids who do not understand addiction will feel ostracized, frustrated and in denial.

The thing about addiction is the individual has to be ready to admit they have a problem before they can start recovery. This usually occurs after hitting rock bottom. At Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, it is recommended that people introduce themselves as an alcoholic before speaking in order to humble themselves.

The majority of video game consumers range from children to young adults — people who may not have the knowledge or self-awareness to identify their addiction to an activity they perceive as simple enjoyment. It seems unlikely the WHO’s classification will make an impact on users just now receiving this information.

I am not a psychologist of any sort, so I will not claim whether or not I believe an individual can be addicted to video games. Although after seeing MTV’s “True Life” series, I could never be surprised. What I do feel passionate about is how parents and children will handle this situation.

When I was younger, I was grounded from “World of Warcraft” for two years because I started to perform worse in school. I would never admit this to my parents, but the test grade that broke the camel’s back really was a result of procrastination via playing World of Warcraft.

Years later, the video game industry has excelled to the point where some gamers are paid more than professional athletes. In order to keep up with the competition, professional players like Ninja play up to 12 hours a day.

My problem was that I was playing with no end goal. It was something I did purely for entertainment purposes.

This is where the line needs to be drawn. If someone is concerned their gaming habits may be a problem, they need to decide whether they’re playing an excessive amount in order to obtain an actual end goal, like putting food on the table, or if they just want to escape real life.

There is a difference between mindlessly playing something to occupy time and learning techniques that can advance talents. Usually, if someone is actively learning things the average person does not know, it is a tedious process that can be considered work rather than fun. Many people love to play “Fortnite” with their friends because it’s a fun pastime, but not nearly as many will learn the best strategies to continuously increase their value as a player.

All of this is to say that excelling at anything should be encouraged, including gaming. When people figure out how to improve at one thing, it can be applied to anything else and becomes a valuable life lesson. On the other hand, if a person is spending all their time and energy on what is essentially a money drain, they should either find something worthwhile to get out of it or reevaluate their priorities.

Featured illustration by Austin Banzon

About Author

Patrick Cleath

Patrick Cleath

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