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Negative effects of computer games on children: Ask the experts: Should an addiction to video games be classified as an official disorder?

There are many gamers who would disagree. Anyone who has spent time playing a game such as World of Warcraft will be aware of how they’re constructed to be addictive, and how the drip-feeding of small bonuses for achieving small tasks can make people feel more rewarded in the game than they are in real life. There have been many cases of addictive games damaging the physical and mental health of gamers and those around them, and supports of the WHO’s decision believe that dismissing such incidents as mere statistics can be damaging in itself. “First, it could lead to a reluctance on behalf of insurance and treatment providers to offer specialised and efficacious treatments,” reads a 2017 paper published in the Journal of Behavioural Addictions . “Second, it could minimise the scientific community’s motivation to progress research in the field … Third, it exacerbates the negative consequences for the [gamers] by invalidating their personal experiences.”

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