Academics argue WHO’s ‘gaming disorder’ is arbitrary, criticize lack of evidentiary transparency

Researchers and self-regulatory bodies are continuing their denouncement of the World Health Organization’s plan to classify “gaming addiction” as a “gaming disorder.” The Entertainment Software Association sent ’round a press release this past week rattling off trade groups in the US, Canada, Europe, Brazil, Korea, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, all of which stand in opposition to the plan – as you’d expect.

The more interesting part of the PR is the ESA’s promotion of an independent paper – not one the ESA or the trade bodies financially sponsored, mind you – written by three dozen academics from around the globe urging the WHO to “postpone the formalization” of the disorder.

A weak scientific basis for gaming disorder: Let us err on the side of caution by Antonius van Rooij et al. is still in pre-print before it releases in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions, but you can grab the draft and its abstract right now if you’re curious. The authors acknowledge that there may be merit in the “gaming disorder” argument and indeed there may be social benefit in recognizing it but that there exists insufficient high-quality research undergirding the WHO’s conclusions.

The researchers lay out suggestions for research constructs; point out that even academics still do not agree on what exactly constitutes gaming disorder, never mind clinicians; note the likelihood of sparking “moral panic” and stigmatizing games unduly; and request a “rationale for focusing on gaming in particular versus a more general behavioral addictions concept.”

“A behavioral addiction definition focused purely on video games is on its face arbitrary. A convincing rationale for focusing on gaming, rather than the myriad of other activities one might overdo, is lacking. We acknowledge that some individuals may overdo gaming, just as they may overdo social media, work, or sex, or tan to excess, or, indeed, dance. […] Yet, only gaming disorder has been proposed for ICD-11 inclusion, with no formal or transparent review of the evidence quality for any of the various addictions.”

Further reading:

Source: van Rooij et al., press release, GIbiz
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

28
LEAVE A COMMENT

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Witches

Holy obfuscation Batman!

The WHO classification is about cases like that korean kid who died in front of his monitor because he had to keep on grinding, or people who became destitute because of video gaming related debt and stuff like that.

Here is my question, how many people who think lootboxes are fine would stop playing if games with lootboxes were reclassified as gambling? I know i wouldn’t and i hate lootboxes.

The more the gaming industry complains about this stuff the more i’m convinced the worst is yet to come as far a scummy business practices in games.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

If you do something you enjoy regularly does it become an addiction? maybe, myself it becomes more of a routine and routines can be hard to shake as we are typically comfortable in routines, especially when they involve things we enjoy, the reptitition is comfortable, familiar and non threatening.

I wouldn’t consider it a problem any more than the routine of having a sex life, or being social, or eating a meal at breakfast, lunch and dinner or getting up for work is a problem as those are all routines and things we do habitually and potentially harmfully too.

I think it is easy for so called experts to point at things they do not understand and call them problems because we as a species have a long history of attacking things that stand out or are different or misunderstood it is sadly one of the least pleasant aspects of human nature.

But to be an addiction, well something really has to be done in excess and in lieu of things which are otherwise important and/or necessary like eating, hygiene, work and family committments, and lets not forget financial restraints etc..

If someone is routinely missing or avoiding “those” things because of their gaming then that is an excess and a possible unhealthy and problematic “addiction” that needs to be addressed, especially if they find they are unable to stop and find a balance of their own accord.

Reader
Bryan Correll

Yup, the term “addiction” gets bandied about far too loosely these days. There are times I game more than I really should, but when in a situation that makes gaming impractical (or impossible) for a period of time I don’t get the shakes or hide in a bathroom playing Candy Crush just to get my fix.

Reader
Witches

You know there are more types of addiction than drug addiction, some drugs don’t even have the side effects you are talking about, but you can still be an addict.

Our society seems to be regressing, we are one small step from going back to blaming witchcraft for things.

Look at the tobacco industry, they have low budget horror movies in their product, super high taxes, countless restrictions in advertising and commercialization, and it still sells, they still make a killing (in more ways than one) it turns out all the money they spent trying to prove smoking was fine and harmless was a waste, people are aware their product is bad but they still buy it. no need for bs.

Reader
Bryan Correll

You know there are more types of addiction than drug addiction,

Of course there are non-drug addictions (though your tobacco example is a drug, nicotine.) Gambling is pretty well recognized as one (which is why regulators are starting to take a hard look at lootboxes in games.) But it takes more than gambling more than you should for it to be an addiction. There has to be an almost overwhelming drive to engage in the addictive behavior no matter the circumstance.

possum440 .
Reader
possum440 .

The self paid experts aside, gaming addicition is real, of that there is no doubt. Millions of examples are in the news, on youtube and social media and provide us with unlimited entertainment as we watch semingly normal people spaz out or kill or abuse themselves or someone else or rant and rave….the list is endless and colorful.

The issue seems to be what to call it. I could care less, take them or leave them, I am not invested in games though I do like them from time to time. I have erased a game I was dead in the middle of more than one time, the witcher 3 included because I wanted to do something else, and I like the witcher 3, using it as an example. I am addicted to the Witcher series but it took me years to finally finish one run through. Like a good book, once done, it gets deleted and filed or tossed.

There are people on this very thread that would go faceripping insane if I were to delete every single gaming account they had to the point of non recoverability and throw away all their gaming devices. Imagine what would happen if WOW were to lose all data for everything in one fell swoop, nothing being able to be brought back for whatever reason…..millions would go nutsquad insane and hundreds of thousands would likely injure themselves. That is a fact.

If you get mad playing a game, if you get mad losing an item, miss a raid and feel bad, berate others for missing raids etc, play games more than you live actual life, then state you live life and have a job but do not really, get mad because your pet or kid or family gets in the way of your gaming…..or go ballistic when you read or hear the term “Gaming addicition”…

….Then you have gaming addicition. My two words to describe gaming addicition is not revolutionary, it is simply this, you have a “weak mind” and do not know how to prioritise life. Like some people seeing a full plate of just out of the oven cookies or a fresh pint of icecream, you eat it all. like any addict you are loathe to admit or even entertain the thought that there may be some merit to any other argument other than yours.

If you do not have gaming addicition, then why make a fuss?

Reader
Thomas Zervogiannis

If you do not have gaming addiction, then why make a fuss?

Social perception. I agree with the rest of your points.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
kgptzac

There are people on this very thread that would go faceripping insane if I were to delete every single gaming account they had to the point of non recoverability and throw away all their gaming devices.

I’m not sure if this is a serious trolling attempt or a normal trolling attempt. Just who do you think you are?

Reader
Jeremiah Ratican

I am sure we can all agree those living with video game addiction, such as those that play video games then read articles about them when not playing should be able to collect disability. :D

Reader
Life_Isnt_Just_Dank_Memes

Me, a pedant: it’s whose.

forgrimm77
Reader
forgrimm77

No, it’s WHO’s, note the caps.

K38FishTacos
Reader
K38FishTacos

It’s insane that we live in a world where people are killing each other and themselves in all kinds of different ways and this is a huge issue, never mind the opioid crisis, etc. Let’s keep trying to suppress symptoms and ignore causes. Let’s keep straining after gnats and swallowing camels.

Reader
Ryan

Enjoy doing anything with your time and it must be addicting. To bad they don’t classify work as addicting. Then I could stay home and play video games :P

Reader
Bruno Brito

HEY GANG! LOOK, SO WHAT IF MY SISTER DOES BALLET UNTIL HER FEET BREAK AND SHE MOLDS IT TO DANCE, AND PEOPLE FIND IT SO BEAUTIFUL? OF COURSE, ME PLAYING HOTS AND GETTING MAD IS MORE IMPORTANT, RIGHT?

Sigh. I’m going to ignore this subject altogether, so my mental health doesn’t drop any more than it already is shitty.

Reader
Roger Melly

I know the Chinese have boot camps for teenagers with “internet addiction” so I imagine by extension that probably includes online gaming . I suppose its like anything if you have an addictive personality you can get caught up in it . I have known plenty of people who have definitely got caught up in a game but whether that is a mental health issue is another thing .

In fact I think a lot of people I have met over the years have ended up in mmo’s because of mental or long term physical health problems . It has given them something to concentrate on , occupy their mind from real world problems and as long as they are friendly gives them access to a social aspect that may be limited in their everyday lives . I think mmo’s can do a lot of good in those terms because it helps such people not to feel so isolated .

Sadly online gaming is a haven for people who have social problems as well ,who end up bringing their issues into a game ,they probably are there because they have isolated themselves so much in their real life thru acting sarcastically or aggressively that they lack any social or love life what so ever . Unfortunately there seems to be a lot of them about . I kind of feel sorry for such people because gaming must be nearly all they have in life and that must be a pathetic existence to say the least .

Reader
rafael12104

Heh. How ironic. It’s like watching two brain cells fight.

Reader
Zora

“I bet that my science can beat your science!”

Reader
Cosmic Cleric

“I bet that my science can beat your science!”

Wait, we talking about Climate Change now?