Your kiddo is kind of obsessive when it comes to playing video games. And that means you might not feel a sense of shock, or even mild surprise, to learn that the World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced that video game addiction is a mental health disorder.
Yep, WHO officially categorized compulsive video game playing as a real mental health condition. So what does that mean for your child? Does this mean that the hours your middle schooler spends in their room playing Mario Kart now qualify as problem behavior? Maybe. Or maybe not.
WHO’s new classification of “gaming disorder” isn’t exactly a common diagnosis. Even though it may seem like your child obsesses over their video games, the actual disorder is fairly complex—and only applies to about three prevent of gamers.
The definition of “gaming disorder” includes impaired control over the video game play (in other words, the inability to stop playing), putting gameplay above other activities/interests and continuing to play games even though the behavior has a negative result. And this negative result doesn’t just mean that you ground your child once and they still want to game.
Gaming disorder, like other addictions, seriously impacts relationships, the ability to attend school or the ability to hold a job over time.
If you have concerns about your child’s seemingly excessive amount of video game play, a mental health or healthcare professional can help.
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