Gaming disorder is not common

The World Health Organization (WHO) included gaming disorder as part of its International Classification of Diseases in 2018 for those who have no control over aspects of their life and/or physical self. Note that these symptoms must prolong for a year before it can be diagnosed under the disorder, and as the WHO pointed out, it only affects “a small portion of people who engage in gaming activities”.

I believe that those points are not stressed enough as some parents are quick to receive the information as “playing games for too long”. I understand that it is a viable threat, but the measures detailed by the person, who penned the opinion letter on March 3 on ‘Ban all online games, save the future’, are clearly too extreme as the number of cases of people with gaming disorder worldwide is minuscule.

It would make more sense to merely educate people on the matter or suggest that the authorities prepare treatment in the unlikely event that we do have a reported case.

Gaming is often compared to excessive drinking, smoking or substance abuse. However, one should consider the difference between gaming and other addictions. For one, it’s not an activity that would hook you in the first time you engage yourself in it. It certainly doesn’t lead one to abusing family members for money, indulging in reckless spending and ruining health.

Like everything in life, it’s all about moderation. Therefore, when bad signs start to show, it is a parent’s duty to step in and educate the child.

After all, it is a popular notion among the youth that while parents provide the necessities in life, they lack the nurturing aspect of parenting to guide children through life.

The author claimed that gaming causes players to neglect their studies. But in 2014, authorities attempted to introduce game-based learning, as research showed that “digital games have been proven to be an effective medium for teaching, learning new skills and practices”; and the only reason it wasn’t adopted was the cost of implementation.

Back in high school, I spent thousands of hours playing video games in my free time. The reason for my “reckless” act was to relieve the pressure, anxiety and frustration due to school. Instead of hurting my studies, I did well enough to qualify for ‘A’-Levels. As a matter of fact, my academic success could be attributed to gaming; it taught me to adapt to the variety of game designs. I approached school the same way, trying to figure out what was expected of a student.

I find it funny how gaming is still getting blamed for family relationships being in “dire straits” because isn’t the leading issue stemming from the over-consumption of social media? Are parents not able to admit that they spend too much time on their phones instead of their children?

Ask gamers how video games have impacted friendships and they’ll tell you how it’s one of the foundations of their strong relationships. We are at an age where we can play games with someone and still retain some experience of physically being with them. If anything, it encourages more friends to have an “interaction hub” of sorts.

An Aspiring Game Developer