Excessive gaming is a mental health disorder? There’s no need to panic…

If you are just joining the conversation, World Health Organisation recently classified excessive gaming as a mental health disorder. In my prior updates, I explain why the classification is good for game studies and impart with my top tips for parents, guardians and the players. By now, many should be familiar with the traditional benefits of gaming, such as: hand-eye coordination; team-working; and modelling; just to mention a few.

If you are not familiar with the traditional benefits of gaming, here are some benefits of playing video games that will surprise you. Finally, I impart with my perceived benefits of gaming for lifelong learning here.

World Health Organisation’s Draft

Gaming, not video games, is a tentacular and reverberating phenomenon, and in my opinion, the draft is timely and a much-needed checkpoint for game studies. The draft does not interfere with current and everyday approach to game studies, rather, the draft intrinsically facilitates due diligence and resourcefulness. 

There hasn’t been much of a significant development in gaming for the past decade. Simply, nostalgic mental models that continue to employ ancient data-sets and data models. Many of which presume that only children indulge in gaming activities. The draft inherently sets a collective path for game scholars, media providers, geographers and game enthusiast.

The draft is quite straight-forward and in line with contemporary approaches to game studies and gamification. The draft reflects the challenges with contemporary gaming. Today’s gaming devices are portals to infinite social and entertainment worlds, identical to common social media platforms.

As with many things in life, excessive gaming may suffice as evidence of an underlying issue in one’s life. These cases are rare, and rightfully, the draft emphasises that only a few are at risk. Below, I condense how to make sense of the draft:

1. Everyday Approach To Research

The classification is based on a review by a diverse and multi-disciplinary group of experts from distinct geographies – this is a reflection of emerging research methods. British educators, for example: Lynda Kaye (Edge-Hill University) and Tara Woodyer (University of Portsmouth) have openly called for collaboration, further understanding, and for public engagement.

2. Connectivity and The Web

The classification is driven by the development of treatment programmes for people with health conditions identical to those characteristics of gaming disorder. The initial focus of WHO’s study was smartphones, tablets, PC and the cloud and the web. Rightfully, gaming encapsulates the subjects of WHO’s study. 

3. Only A Few Affected

The draft does not in any mannerism imply that everyone involved in gaming are susceptible to the disorder. The draft explicitly states that only a few are threatened and the classification is not a reflection of the whole. The draft alerts and focus the attention of health professionals to the risks of development of this disorder and, accordingly, to galvanise research methods and public engagement.

4. Awareness and Time Management

Finally, the draft also highlights the importance of space and time management in the discourse. The psychology of space and time-management are simple but critical success factors. We seldom forget that gaming is about both Children and adults, and male and female.


Consider the finance, time and space that research cohorts committed to Tetris in the past – was it not wasteful? Whatever your perspective to Tetris, I’m sure you have your reasons. Thankfully, you don’t have to seek afar to identify with a sense of urgency that traditional current methods won’t suffice for the learning that’s going to occur in the future. 

Gaming devices are more than a box where you play video games, they are cloud and web-enabled portals to many social and entertainment worlds. Research shed light on how increasingly difficult it’s becoming to separate gaming discussions from everyday discussions on social media. The risk (opportunities and threat) of escapism is real in gaming paradigm. 

Final Word

We have done a marvellous job in including gamer’s and gaming in digital discussions, our achievements are exemplary. Due to the smart work of scholars, practitioners and enthusiast, we now know more about gaming than we did demi-decades ago. The draft is timely and has arrived at a good time when game studies are plagued with repetitions, persuasive rhetoric, twitter scholar-celebrities and pseudoscience. The draft does not alter research proceedings, rather, it encourages due diligence, public engagement, collaboration and resourcefulness. 

Thank you for visiting my blog!

Published by John Adewole

Senior User Researcher

5 thoughts on “Excessive gaming is a mental health disorder? There’s no need to panic…

  1. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog. A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.


  2. Hey! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a wonderful job!


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