The World Health Organization (WHO) has been criticized for adding “gaming disorder” to their “disease classification manual.”
WHO described “gaming disorder” as “a pattern of gaming behavior (‘digital-gaming’ or ‘video-gaming’) 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.”
Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) also announced they would start treating “gaming disorder.”
The classification, however, has prompted criticism from both gamers and professionals.
“We’re essentially pathologising a hobby, so what’s next? There are studies on tanning addiction, dance addiction, exercise addiction, but nobody is having a conversation about including them in ICD 11,” declared Bath Spa University lecturer Dr. Peter Etchells. “I don’t think policy should be informed by moral panics, which is what it feels like is happening at the moment.”
“What we’re doing then is over-diagnosing, we’re sort of pathologising a behaviour that for many people is not harmful in any way,” he continued, adding, “The best evidence that we currently have really suggests some screen time, some video game playing, is better than none at all, particularly for child wellbeing.”
Others took to Twitter to both criticize and mock WHO’s classification.
I had a gaming disorder in high school and to the horror of everyone around me I ended up with a bunch of cool like minded friends, and a stable career. Scary stuff.
— Jordan Maron (@CaptainSparklez) June 18, 2018
My “gaming disorder” kept me from hanging with the wrong crowd of people, motivated me to study computer science, and gave me a 10 year moderately successful Youtube career. So whatever.
— ZeRoyalViking (@ZeRoyalViking) June 18, 2018
sorry, tours cancelled… suffering from a severe gaming disorder. thanks WHO.
— Goat lord (@deadmau5) June 18, 2018
oh no. i am suffering from a "gaming disorder" welcome to snowflake city.
— Goat lord (@deadmau5) June 18, 2018
it's hard living with a gaming disorder
every time i go to the super market i pretend my shopping cart is actually a vehicle in mario kart
if i go to mcdonalds my disorder makes me think im in overcooked and i jump over the counter to prepare food
— The Esports Writer (@FionnOnFire) June 18, 2018
RT if you are now designated as having a mental gaming disorder… 🏻♂️
— Chaos (@Chaosxsilencer) June 18, 2018
Fortnite's immense popularity amongst young people and the WHO's classification of "gaming disorder" as a diagnosis are creating a perfect storm of panicked, misinformed media stories about the evils of video games. Exhausting to combat this every time a game gets popular
— Keza MacDonald (@kezamacdonald) June 20, 2018
My “gaming disorder” helped me become a man of a good friend and I gotta is a great night for me and I gotta is a time of night for me a night out with a great night out of the stream and then I’ll play with you.
— Sp00n (@Sp00nerism) June 18, 2018
fuck, my excessive gaming disorder has helped me make friends and made my life 10x better. oh no.
— chaos (@WhosChaos) June 19, 2018
Worker: I've been working 20+ hours.
WHO: seems like you need some rest. You're working really hard
Reader: I've been reading 20+ hours
WHO: seems likes you enjoy reading a lot. Keep it!
Gamer: "I've been gaming for 20+ hours"
WHO: seems like you have a gaming disorder.
— Ryan coker-welch (@TheMoon112) June 20, 2018
“You could easily take out the word ‘gaming’ and put in ‘sex’ or ‘food’ or ‘watching the World Cup,’” criticized Oxford Internet Institute psychologist Andrew Przybylski.