The Writer Within VI


Gaming is a mental health issue. That’s a real thing that has happened, a real classification. Now we could talk about how sensitive and warped our society and culture had become but, well, this is a topic on a silver platter. What a way to start off 2018.

Now the World Health Organization says that gaming addiction is a mental health issue. Addiction is a real thing and the drug can be anything, yes games included, but I don’t entirety agree with their words or descriptions. Let’s analyze.

One term they use is Game Disorder. Now, that’s marketable.

The top three definitions of disorder are as followed:
1) A state of confusion,
2) The disruption of peaceful and law-abiding behavior, and
3) A disruption of normal physical or mental functions; a disease or abnormal condition.

Games don’t put people in a state of confusion, though Death Stranding might if trailers are any indication, but instead they provide an escape for players. They allow that creative part of the brain to flex and expand, they provide an avenue of escape to those dealing with any undesirable situations, and some studies conducted at the Digital Creativity Labs (DC Labs) at York University have provide results that show kids have had rises in IQ from video games, primarily strategy games.

The disruption of peaceful and law-abiding behavior. Now this one they might have an opportunity to bend to their wills. It’s sad to admit but there are cases where a person has killed another because of video games. I mean it wasn’t that long ago in Kansas that a person was killed in a swatting, because those are so clever and funny, due to video games. The saddest part of that case was the fact the victim was unrelated to the events. This is, however, not because of mental illness or disorder but because of other factors. As stupid as it was, and the whole concept is, the swatting was a prank gone wrong. In the 2010 case in Pennsylvania where the nine year old boy sniped the girl because she was better than him in Spy Hunter, that is on the parents for not teaching their child that some are better than others. They should have taught that child that we as people can’t horde anger and attack but rather accept and move on. Some skills taught in real life don’t fit or work in games, and vice versa, and if he wanted to get better at the game he would have to practice it. If skills did translate over, man I’d be a pretty rad zombie slayer. Also teaching a child how to use a gun needs to be accompanied by lessons on when to actually use those skills, like, say, for protecting people only. Hunting. Etc.

A disruption of normal physical or mental functions; a disease or abnormal condition. The most physical damage a game can cause, really, is soreness in your hands or posture. I’m ready stretching on that one too but I’m trying to give them the benefit of the doubt. Games aren’t a disease nor can they be one. They aren’t causing abnormal conditions any more than a mountain climber on mount Everest. Gaming is an external force so any cause of disease would essentially be self imposed as a catalyst due to your behavior. It isn’t like anorexia or bulimia, real disorders, where it’s a mental condition that causes you to want to change your physique and causes you physical harm.

Though gaming may not be a disorder, it really can become an addiction. Just like anything in life. It’s up to the individual, or their parents, to ensure a happy pastime doesn’t become something more sinister. We need to take responsibility for our actions and not find new things to hide behind, like disorders, and we need to stop trying to find a medical meaning behind something.

If you or your kid play Call of Duty for sixteen hours everyday, then your just a lazy person with no sense of responsibility and lack having important things in perspective. Or rich. For the sake of the article, you’re  not. It’s not a medical condition, it’s a lack of having your priorities in perspective.

I feel if we tried to classify the various issues that can be associated with gaming, and we all know there are a lot, under the umbrella of disorder that dilutes and takes away from real disorders. It waters it down and will cause others to not take the word or actual disorders seriously. In another Level we’ll discuss those negative emotions tied to gaming and in another we’ll look at the positives.

But, more importantly, what do you think? Is there such a thing as gaming disorders? Do you agree with the World Health Organization?

Have your say!

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