Last week the World Health Organisation officially recognized Gaming Disorder as a disease. As you can imagine this went down like a lead balloon with the gaming industry and representatives are already asking the WHO to rethink their announcement.
Whether you agree with the announcement or not, it’s a fact that videogames are being played more often and by more and more people. They are becoming a bigger part of our daily lives and the WHO has studied how our gaming habits affect our lives, relationships and health.
Gaming Disorder is defined as:
“a pattern of gaming behaviour (“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.”
“For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behaviour pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months.”
To aid with the diagnosis the WHO has developed a survey that you can take to get an idea of where you fit on the disorder scale. It takes about 20 minutes to complete and you can take the survey here. The survey requires you to be honest and asks some tough questions about your gaming habits and how they might impact your day to day life. At the end, you are given a score and also a breakdown as to why the survey things you play games. You also get to compare your results to the other participants of the survey.
I took the survey and I scored 9/20 putting me in the middle of the scale but looking at other results 74% of participants have a lower score than me. This was to be somewhat expected given that I write about games for some of my living, but I’m still not sure how I feel scoring higher than lots of others.
Just to be clear, if you score high on the survey it doesn’t mean that you have to get yourself straight to the GP to seek mental health advice although your score might help you reflect on your gaming habits. The survey is not intended to replace a professional diagnosis so if you are concerned about your gaming habits you should seek professional medical advice.
My other results show that I play games more for recreation, for the competition and to escape reality. I have no idea if this makes me unhealthy or not but it’s a pretty accurate summary.
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