Can Gaming Be An Addiction?

Anthony Ponton, Features Editor

Lately, there’s been a lot of argument surrounding whether gaming can be classified as an addiction. For as long as I have been playing video games I have always believed that gaming, like many other activities, can be addictive when used improperly.

Like all hobbies, I believe gaming can be an addiction, but in rare circumstances. Simply playing video games a lot is not an addiction, but when you start missing things in life like work, school, or other important events this is when it becomes something that controls your life and therefore is addictive. This obsessive behavior can also ruin people’s lives when they begin to love gaming more than their real-life loved ones.

The World Health Organization’s definition of gaming disorder states, “Gaming disorder is defined in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as a pattern of gaming behavior (“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.”

However, a scientist on public mental health research, Michelle Colder Carras states that these addictive behaviors don’t end at gaming. She explains, “By limiting ourselves to gaming, we may be locked into a very narrow definition of disordered behavior and run the risk of not being able to help those who exhibit the same behavioral problems for other forms of technology.” According to Colder, limiting the definition can be detrimental in diagnosing other types of addiction.

Some may argue gaming can not be an addiction. Andrew Przybylski, an expert in how people interact in virtual environments,  says “You could easily take out the word ‘gaming’ and put in ‘food’ or ‘watching the World Cup.’”  Nico Bologna, an 8th grader at Dana Middle School agrees. He explains, “I don’t believe gaming addiction is a real thing, but people still can be really into games.” 

A way to “fix” gaming addiction is by gaming companies making games that give warnings after you play too much or have parental controls which would limit playtime. Nintendo has already implemented this with the Switch. Another way would be by making the games less addictive, but that would probably make them less fun to play. 

Gaming is an addiction, but still can be avoided if you don’t let it take over you and let it become an addiction. Be aware of how much gaming and if you are using it to avoid your real-world problems. If things seem to be spiraling out of control, seek help from a counselor.