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.

Stopping Entitlement Part II : The Gaming Matrix for Earning Technology at School


Not long ago I wrote a post concerning a new plan for managing when and how students access technology. This plan is based-on a boarding school model, where year 6-10 go home on the weekends, while the older students stay for the duration, or until a school holiday. The original article is posted here. The basic premise is that students do not get to use the school network or BYOD until they complete certain tasks. They must earn enough points to gain technology independence outside of ICT class. Without wasting time, here is the scoring plan.

Years 6-9 Scoring Plan

I have made this list compact. There are details for the faculty and staff to explain how the verify something has been done. We have created a “passport” that goes inside each student’s homework diary. I personally think we should track this on a game type platform that shows scores every hour on the TVs around the campus. That is my next mission.

Mandatory for all Students

Points Available 20

  • Review Acceptable Use Policy
  • Activate Email
  • BYOD Device is Labeled
  • BYOD Device Registration Complete
  • No Windows OS on BYOD Device
  • Library Clearance
  • Positive Effort Grade Report with Housemaster Approval (End of Week 2)

Please Note: Students can only get 0 or 20, they cannot simply do a percentage. This is all or nothing.

Community Activities – Three out of Four are Required.

Points Available: 20

  • Join a club.
  • Join a sport.
  • Clean Up the Cafeteria – Team of 4 or more required.
  • Learn the names of All the teachers in your house.

Please Note: Students can only get 0 or 20, they cannot simply do percentage. They actually only have two choices because joining a sport and club are required. However, this incentivises them getting involved and choosing their sports and clubs within the first or second week of school instead of procrastinating.

TechPointMatrix – Students may choose a combination of activities in order to reach the required point total. 

Points Required: 60

Green = 5 Points

Blue = 10 Points

Orange = 20 Points

Red = 40 Points

  • Help a student in class learn something new.
  • Help a student in the dorm.
  • Help a teacher with a lesson.
  • Help a teacher learn a new tech skill with iMovie, Excel, or PowerPoint.
  • Help a teacher with their duty.
  • Submit a new website students can use without VPN.
  • Recommend an App for Year 6 iPad students.
  • Use your Discovery United Streaming account.
  • Recommend free software for students.
  • Teach a teacher a useful Apple laptop shortcut.
  • Write a school song (lyrics only).
  • Be on-time for first period for 10 consecutive school days.
  • Fix something that is broken, for someone else.
  • Show a math teacher how to use the protractor in the Promethean software.
  • Share your iPad screen to your teacher’s laptop using AirServer.
  • Write a poem/haiku and have it placed on the TV system.
  • From the free throw line, hit 5 shots in a row.
  • From the three point line, hit 3 shots in a row.
  • Draw one of your teachers, and convince them to hang it in their classroom.
  • Create a hashtable of comic book information or movie data. All code will be checked for originality.
  • With your Parents, update your emergency contact information on PowerSchool.
  • Help the IT Team do Inventory.
  • Help the PE Department do Inventory.
  • Volunteer in the library for 2 periods.
  • Make a presentation or video on cyber bullying – 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Make a presentation or video on MLA formatting- 2 minutes or longer.
  • Learn the full name of every person (Student and Teacher) on your floor.
  • Receive a clean dorm room report for 3 consecutive weeks.
  • Draw and decorate the glass outside the fourth floor IT Office.
  • Create a tech support team to help other students.
  • Write a school song (music and lyric). Teams of 2-4 are allowed.
  • Learn the full name of every person (Student and Teacher) in your House. Then demonstrate it to the whole house.
  • Without spending any money, find a better way to recycle PET bottles, and implement it.
  • Without spending any money, start a new sport and get approval from PE to do it during season 2 or 3.
  • Choose an international charity, approved in China, and gain approval for a partnership.

Please keep in mind all of these points need to be completed by a certain time for each grade level. Grade 9 only has about 3-4 weeks. After that, their teachers will actually assign work that requires their BYOD device. I was going to make this a 20 point game, however, I know that students will be clever and find loopholes. I am hoping some year 6 student is able to get all 100 points by the beginning of week 2. It would be great to have some students with their BYOD privileges weeks ahead of their curriculum schedule.

Curriculum Schedule

A timeline has been created based-on various curriculum requirements. Year 6-8 use the Shanghai+ curriculum. The only technology required is delivered in their ICT courses. Everything else is outside of their curriculum. These students will be expected to do additional technology work after week 4.

Year 9 will be expected to be online between weeks 4-5 with their BYOD devices.

The year 10-11 students also have mandatory tasks they must complete. However, they do not have the TechPointMatrix. Their requirements will be achieved during the first 2 weeks of school. Because they are doing IGCSE and IB, we cannot delay access to resources.

The older students have a check list that makes sure their BYOD devices are compliant, their required software is setup, and they have reviewed the acceptable use policy and academic honestly policy with a teacher.

Final Thoughts

This could be a huge waste of time. I can see the end of it though, and I believe it will be a good experience for everyone. I like that it involves the teachers and students in something connected to technology, but the process itself, does not require technology.

The matrix is differentiated enough, and students can get all their points doing the easy 5 point items. Students who have been working on big projects in the past (such as recycling) can start with those and get big points up front.

Game On. 

Tony DePrato