For a long time there was a discussion about whether video game addiction would be a disease or not. Now, the World Health Organization (WHO) has laid a final stone on this issue and at the beginning of the year, when the entity considered gambling disorder as a disease and will include the disorder on the list of ills.
But the question that still remains in our heads is: does my son or any child in my family suffer from video game addiction? The answer is: not necessarily.
According to pediatrician Luiz Afonso Britto, professor of pediatrics at UFAM/UEA/FMT and a member of the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics, parents or guardians need to evaluate children well before defining video game addiction.
“In some cases, children can spend a lot of time on the couch, becoming sedentary and reclusive. Sometimes, they do not do their homework and may even fail to develop the ability to have fun with other children or even become anti-social. But these problems do not mean that a child suffers from the disorder, “explained Britto.
Also according to the pediatrician, games can become pathological and resemble a real addiction if children who play games meet the clinical criteria for an “addiction” such as just wanting to play video games and not living life. “The typical behaviors of addicts to games must be observed for a period of more than 12 months for a diagnosis to be made. But the new ICD will reinforce that this period can be reduced if the symptoms are very serious”.
According to WHO, the symptoms of the disorders include: not having control over the frequency, intensity and duration with which you play video games; prioritize playing video games over other activities, continue or further increase the frequency with which you play video games, even after having had negative consequences of this habit;
For Britto, games dominate the addict’s lives, because playing gives a feeling of euphoria, a feeling of relief from feelings, or even a false sense of help for those children and young people who want to escape from reality. “If gambling interferes in this way in the lives of your children, including at school and in social relationships, it is necessary to be attentive and take it immediately to the doctor”, said Britto.
Thus, he concludes that pathological addiction to games is more about the amount of time your child spends playing than living the normal life of a child, who should be studying, playing and interacting with family and friends.
How to identify?
For now, according to the WHO, gambling disorder is the only one linked to the technology that has earned this disease status. The organization has also received requests to include binge-watching disorder as an illness, the addiction to running marathons in front of TV, and smartphones.