WHO Calls Extreme Gaming a Mental Health 'Disorder' – Voice of America

From VOA Learning English, this is the Health & Lifestyle report.

One of the most common complaints among American parents today is children spending too much time on a computer or other electronic devices. This is especially true if the child spends several hours a day playing video games.

Parents may begin to worry that gaming is more than just a waste of time. They fear it might become an addiction. The child could develop a strong desire or need to keep playing.

Officials at the World Health Organization are worried, too. They say playing video games creates strong feelings of pleasure and reward in the brain. And in some cases, that can lead to addictive behavior. So, the WHO has listed “gaming disorder” as a mental health condition.

Mental health experts are debating whether the move is helpful or not. They say the WHO’s declaration may simply frighten parents into thinking their child is addicted to video games.

But to others, the possibility of gaming becoming an addiction is very real. After all, video game creators want to design programs that keep people playing.

People can slowly become addicted to video gaming. Some may play for hours. They lose interest in doing other things. They stop going to school or work.

Canadian Cam Adair was one of them.

Originally when I started gaming, it was fine. You know, I was a healthy, happy kid … played hockey. But eventually, it began to become a problem. And I actually ended up dropping out of high school, not once but twice, never graduated, never went to college. And it got to a point where I was pretending to have jobs, playing video games up to 16 hours a day.”

Some addiction experts say signs of gaming addiction are similar to alcoholism

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