Gaming disorder

The World Health Organization has released its newest list of classified diseases and, as the title suggests, gaming disorder is among them. You can read what it says from the WHO website by clicking here.

It explicitly points at video games and has three characterizations to what behaviors determine if someone has a gaming disorder.

  1. impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context).
  2. increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities.
  3. continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

It then goes on to further describe as read below.

The behaviour pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning. The pattern of gaming behaviour may be continuous or episodic and recurrent. The gaming behaviour and other features are normally evident over a period of at least 12 months in order for a diagnosis to be assigned, although the required duration may be shortened if all diagnostic requirements are met and symptoms are severe.

There are some caveats included on this page.
* updated on a daily basis
* it is not approved by WHO
* NOT TO BE USED for CODING except for agreed FIELD TRIALS

I want to say that I believe someone can be addicted to video games. I have never met such a person, but I am sure they are out there. I am also sure that people can be addicted to just about any activity
* Exercise
* Eating
* Cleaning
* Social media

I am sure you can think of plenty more to add to the list. These are behaviors that people are addicted to and I am not sure that singling out a specific behavior is a good idea, especially when the criteria is very subjective from one person to another.

I like to game

I like to game and I do it in a specific manner. I only play one game at a time and I like to play for large swatches of time. For example, I am currently playing Metal Gear Solid V and I like to play for 3–5 hours at a time. I take breaks and am accessible to the rest of my family but I try not to do work during this time, I try not to take phone calls during this time and I sometimes get frustrated with the game. I play the game until I win or until I get to place that I am satisifed with putting it down for good. I can go weeks between playing games (depending on what is happening in my life).

Some people may interpret that I have a gaming disorder. That I prioiritize gaming over everything else in my life while I am playing. That’s certainly not true but I value that time I get to play and I do prioiritize it over other activities at the time.

My worries

I worry that the gaming industry will be villified and demonized again. I wonder that people who want to go into this field or this work will be shunned. I don’t know if that would really happen or not but I do know the video game industry is booming right now. Take Grand Theft Auto V – released back in 2013. Those are staggering numbers and GTA V is still one of the best selling games four years later.

The WHO carries a lot of legitimacy behind it and I worry that parents and schools will overreact to such news and go on campaigns against gaming.


If you think someone in your family games too much, try to talk to them. Try and set up expectations and limitations. Maybe they have a gaming system in their room. Have them do their homework in the kitchen or a similarily public place. Once that is done, then they can go game. is a website I like to point parents to (and use myself). They are fair, balanced and you don’t get the knee jerk reactions that you may find on other sites about gaming. They have some fantastic tips about gaming.

Basically don’t freak out if your kids play video games. If you’re concerned then do some research about the games they play, talk to them and start setting some agreed upon ground rules.

3 thoughts on “Gaming disorder”

  1. Hey Patrick, may I write a guest post about this? I have a lot to say about this, and I think I could contribute to this discussion.

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