WHO Criticized for ‘Moral Panic’ of Adding ‘Gaming Disorder’ to Disease Classification Manual

The Associated Press

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.


“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.

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.