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Not Playing Around: Gaming Disorder in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11)

  • Daniel L. King
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Daniel L. King, School of Psychology, The University of Adelaide, Level 7, Hughes Building, Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia.
    Affiliations
    School of Psychology, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
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  • Marc N. Potenza
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry, Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling, Wehtersfield, Connecticut

    Department of Neuroscience, Connecticut Mental Health Center, New Haven, Connecticut

    Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
    Search for articles by this author
      Adolescents are among the most avid consumers of online digital entertainment, particularly video games and related online activities (e.g., live streaming, eSports broadcasts). Global research data indicate that most adolescents report past-year gaming usage across a range of devices, including personal computers, laptops, consoles, and, increasingly as the technology has become more sophisticated, smartphones [
      • Fam J.Y.
      Prevalence of internet gaming disorder in adolescents: A meta‐analysis across three decades.
      ,

      SuperData Research. Market brief—2017 digital games & interactive media year in review. Available at: https://www.superdataresearch.com/market-data/market-brief-year-in-review. Accessed September 1, 2018.

      ,

      Office of the eSafety Commissioner. State of play–Youth and online gaming in Australia, 2018. Canberra, Australian Government, 2018. Available at: https://www.esafety.gov.au/about-the-office/research-library/youth-online-gaming. Accessed September 1, 2018.

      ]. Internationally, average gaming usage among adolescents has increased over the last three decades, particularly among males. The Generation M2 study in the United States, for example, reported that average daily gaming usage among individuals, aged 8–18 years, increased from 24 to 73 minutes between 2004 and 2009 [

      Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA). Commonwealth of Australia. Trends in media use by children and young people. Insights from the Kaiser Foundation's Generation M2 2009 (USA) and results from the ACMA's Media and communications in Australian families 2007. Available at: https://www.acma.gov.au/theACMA/trends-in-media-use-by-children-and-young-people. Accessed September 1, 2018.

      ]. Recent Australian data indicate that males aged 15–24 years play games for an average of 155 min/day [

      Brand J.E., Todhunter S., Jervis J.. Digital Australia 2018 (DA18). Available at: http://www.igea.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Digital-Australia-2018-DA18-Final-1.pdf. Accessed September 1, 2018.

      ] and that 4.1% of males aged 11–17 years play games for 9 hours or more on an average weekday [
      • Lawrence D.
      • Johnson S.
      • Hafekost J.
      • et al.
      The mental health of children and adolescents: Report on the second Australian child and adolescent survey of mental health and wellbeing.
      ]. For many children and adolescents, gaming can transition rapidly from a hobby to a routine that is difficult to self-regulate, reduce, or go without, even temporarily. The rising popularity and misuse of video games among adolescents may be attributed to the notion that there may be no other more accessible leisure product that provides a low-effort/low-cost experience of action and excitement, progress and achievement, social connection, and self-expression.
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