Video Games Disorder: Just Another Moral Panic about Gaming?

in steempress •  2 months ago

The World Health Organisation recently included 'gaming disorder' as a new mental health disorder in its latest updated draft version of the International Classification of Diseases.

The disorder has not yet been formally recognized as a condition, it's under review over the coming year. Not everyone's convinced that it actually exists: the gaming industry is especially skepital, tending to view this as a moral panic reaction to parents' raised awareness and dislike of their children spending longer on games such as Fortnite.


Is 'gaming disorder' must a moral panic reaction?

What is 'Gaming Disorder'?


You can read the full definition here. It breaks down into three main elements:

  1. impaired control over gaming
  2. increasing priority given to gaming, such that gaming takes precedence over other hobbies/ interests and daily activities
  3. continuation or escalation of gaming despite negative consequences.
In order for it to be diagnosed, the WHO is suggestion that it needs to be observed over a 12 month period and have resulted in the declining ability of an individual to function in one of more are of social life, such as at work, or within the family.

What's the evidence base for its existence?

Dr Vladimir Poznyak is one of the main defenders of the idea that VGD is a really existing phenomenon. He points to the fact that the last few years have seen a rising number of cases of 'gaming addiction' in several countries around the world, and some governments and charities have even set up treatment programmes, along the line of gambling addiction programmes.

He outlines in his case in this article.

NB - In his defence, Dr VP does say that <1% of gamers are ever likely to suffer from gaming disorder.

Problems with the concept and the evidence...


UKie CEO Dr Joe Twist argues that the WHO definition is based on questionable evidence, and when pushed WHO officials are quite vague about what exactly it is they are worried about.

For example, it is unclear whether certain genres of games are more 'addictive' than others, or whether certain triggers (such as rewards structures) within games are the problem...

This episode of 'Click' on iPlayer does quite a good job of summarising the issues surrounding gaming disorder.

What do you think?


Personally I think it's perfectly reasonable to establish a new disorder, especially when the WHO is clear that it effects only 1% of users - I mean, check the definition, we are talking about SEVERE addiction here. Even someone who plays 40 hours a week wouldn't necessarily be classified as having gaming disorder.

I think its fairly clear that some computer games have addictive features, which are going to affect a tiny minority in a negative way (very similar to gambling), and the games industry needs to recognize this rather than just ignoring the fact that their products create serious problems for 1% of users.

Having said that, maybe we do need further research which pins down particular genres and features...?

Image source.

 


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There are some factors around gaming that make it more dangerous than other possibly obsessive entertainments. The isolation, meaning no face to face contact with a real human, being one. A false sense of achievement being another.

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Yup fair points both.... also human interaction is far more of a challenge!

Posted using Partiko Android

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Exactly.
Much easier to learn to beat a game you can re-do, as opposed to a relationship you might damage irreparably with a single comment or action.
Learning what behavior society doesn't approve of through constant dis-approval is something no one likes. If a person is already socially challenged, it is much easier to turn to a mock reality.
You probably have a term for this condition, but as a layman, I see the condition and effects without being able to describe it with a title.

I think it's medicalising social behaviour rather than understanding how games (and social media generally) can affect us and society learning how to manage that. It's still about parents, and other adults with a role in helping children learn, setting boundaries, providing guidance, modelling through their own behaviour and helping children and young people prepare for independence.

There's also a school of thought that addictions are caused through social ills and defining addictions as a disease or condition, while a boon to Big Pharma everywhere, places an additional burden on the addict and doesn't address fundamental social causes.

Technology is changing our environment faster than our stone-age selves can cope, and we don't know the half of how we work cf recent publications about how restricted eating hours affects metabolism and research on the second genome. A more holistic, socially based approach is needed rather than fragmenting elements of behaviour and labelling them.

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I agree with the first point entirley, then again so does the WHO!

Intuitively I know pc games do me about as much good as tv, which is not very much!

It is a challenge staying in control in the midst of change!

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It's a grey area of psychiatric disorder. How about people who went professional? Are they considered addicted when they have to train while that routine might have caused significant distress to them?

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Fair point - maybe we need a 'financial trader' disorder or a 'medical student' disorder to balance things out!

Posted using Partiko Android

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Even though there is no exact criteria or their validity is questionable, medical student disorder (or disease) is a real thing.

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Wouldn't that depend on if they had balance in their lives? Many professionals, successful in their chosen field, lead very unhealthy lives overall.

There are no games that cause more addiction than others, that depends on the tastes of the users and the popularity of the game, there is to channel how much time is devoted to these games

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Yup fair point - I think the whole issue needs more research!

There's also a lot worse in this world than video games of course.

Posted using Partiko Android


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Did you hear this radio programme about the attention economy (some mentions of gaming)?

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Hi - no link, but I'm sure I can track it down!

Posted using Partiko Android

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https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bjp0mn
Not sure partiko can identify links?

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Thanks - no obviusly not!

Posted using Partiko Android

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Hi - no link, but I'm sure I can track it down!

Posted using Partiko Android