Ever since the Atari was invented in the 80s, video games have been a part of most teenagers’ lives. However, the time spent playing the games have increased greatly. Gone are the days when children played outside until the street lights came on.
The World Health Organization has noticed this trend, and plans to list “gaming disorder” as a real disease in the 2018 International Classification of Diseases. It will be classified as a mental health disorder.
The WHO website reports that by recognizing it as a disease, the public needs to stand up and take notice. “Kids between the ages of 8 and 18 spend almost four hours a day in front of the TV, and two more hours playing video games,” the website reads.
Spending too much time playing videos games could be a jump start to more problems. “People afflicted with gaming disorder show addictive behaviors that are like those of alcoholics and drug addicts,” the website reads. Most addicts think about playing the moment they wake up, and might even skip eating, sleeping or working to play a game.
Luke Norton has been an avid video gamer for over 23 years. “My father bought a Super Nintendo for me as a birthday gift,” Norton said. “It has been one of my main hobbies ever since.”
Norton said he does not believe gaming addiction should be classified as an actual disease. “I’m not into that,” Norton said. “I understand addictions and people with addictive personalities. I also believe there is a line, and I think we are crossing into questionable territory.”
The question most people, like Norton, have is since it is listed as a disease, will Social Security come into play? Norton thinks it is a ludicrous idea for people to receive Social Security for gaming. “I think it’s ridiculous,” Norton said. “There remains enough strain on Social Security in its current state. We struggle to make sure those that are in greater need get a fair share. Social Security is already planning to take a 25-percent deduction in the future.”
Kathryn Harkins has been playing video games for over 20 years. Even though she loves to play, Kathryn said she thinks possible addiction depends on the person. “For some people, they only play games when they get a chance,” Harkins said. “However, there are other people that think ‘oh, this is so much fun’, and don’t know how to stop.”
Harkins said video gaming is generally a stress reliever, not a stress causer.
Even though she thinks it can be a disorder, Harkins does not believe they should receive Social Security for it. “I think it is stupid, because they can work; they just choose not to,” Harkins said.
Harkins said parents should be more aware of what type of games their children are playing. “This one kid’s mom was about a game her kid was playing, because it had killing and stuff in it,” Harkins said. “She bought the game, so it is her fault for not considering the type of game.”
WHO gives tips on how to possibly prevent video gaming disease. “Set time limits, only allow yourself — or your child — a certain window of time to play a game. When time is up, go find something else to do,” their website reads.
“Go outside, enjoy nature. Keep an eye on what type of games you, or your child, are playing; some games are more addictive than others,” the website reads. “If you or a loved one seems to be addicted to video games, seek help.”