In my counselling practice, Sustainable Recovery, I have inquiries about gaming addiction and internet addiction. In January of this year, it was announced that Gaming Addiction will be listed as a mental health condition for the first time by the World Health Organization. Its 11th International Classification of Diseases (ICD) will include the condition “gaming disorder”.
Here is some timely information on this topic from two sources;
The First – CBC Ontario Today, When video games take over https://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/ontario-today/episode/15553176
The World Health Organization now says compulsive gaming qualifies as an addictive behaviour disorder.
The Second – Here is a pamphlet from CAMH and the Ontario Gaming
Youth Family and Technology Use
Not so long ago, parents worried about their children’s television viewing or time spent chatting on the home phone. Today, while most parents have come to terms with the new technology—laptops, tablets, iPads, iPods, gaming systems, smartphones and wearable technologies—many are still overwhelmed by how easy it is for young people to access almost anything with a touch of their fingers.
We’re all connected
Most people like connecting with friends and knowing what is happening in their lives,, and technology has made that easy. Now it’s difficult to keep track of the growing number of ways we have of connecting and the easy, instant access we have to people and information globally.
The Internet has become a huge part of young people’s lives. They use it for schoolwork, keeping up with friends, playing games, shopping, sharing photos and videos, and streaming music, TV shows and movies. With Internet access on all smartphones, young people can interact with their social networks around the clock.
Children are using technology more and more. Learning through interactive games is engaging and fun. School- age children can join parent-vetted online communities that are great for practising social skills. The parent’s role in guiding the family’s use of technology starts early!
Young people use technology in ways that enhance their lives
Technology gives young people quick access to information that can help with their schoolwork. It can allow them to collaborate with classmates online. It can
connect them with friends and family. It can be a way of relaxing.
Technology can provide new ways for young people to develop their identity by exposing them to situations and people from diverse cultures and places. It can open up communication with a variety of people and lets young people see inside the lives of others from diverse backgrounds and experiences. It allows them to develop their individuality and define their role in relation to their own circle of friends, family and community.
Some young people can develop problems with technology
Technology use presents a problem when it interferes with young people’s ability to do the things that are expected of them, and/or important to them, such as attending school regularly and on time, maintaining good grades, participating in family life and engaging in face-to-face friendships.
Important questions to consider are: Where do young people use technology? What are they doing with it? How much time do they spend using it?
Place—Do young people use the Internet in a space where parents can monitor their use (for example, in
a family room where others can walk by and see what they’re doing)? Or do they use it in a place where others can’t see what they’re doing (for example, in their bedroom or away from home)?
Content—Are young people’s technology-related activities dangerous? Do they connect with strangers online and then arrange to meet them? Do they post inappropriate pictures of themselves or others? Do they text or talk on cell phones while driving? Do they use the technology to bully others or spread gossip and lies? Are they choosing activities that are appropriate for their age?