The World Health Organization has now recognized video game addiction as a serious threat to public health. The 11th International Classification of Diseases defines “gaming disorder” as playing games so obsessively “that it takes precedence over other life interests.”
Up to 6 percent of adolescents reportedly suffer from this condition, in which they play on their devices more than 10 hours a day, ignoring sleep, food, personal hygiene, school, work and social relationships. With this new classification, insurance will begin providing treatment and rehab for those trying to shake the addiction.
In Japan, South Korea and China, the biggest game makers have already taken steps to limit excessive on-line use by those under 16. The most successful games employ brain science to lure players into constant play and now public health authorities will try to use similar sophistication to cure those who have become addicted.