Problematic gaming is defined as any use that causes significant distress in the lives of children and youth. This includes excessive gaming, as well as a diagnosis of a gaming disorder or addiction. The World Health Organization (WHO) officially included gaming disorder (GD) in the 11th revised edition of the International Classification of Diseases in May 2019. However, this inclusion is under revision since millions of children and youth play video games as part of a normal healthy entertainment; hence, further research is needed to avoid stigma. Additionally, internet gaming disorder is included in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in the section of disorders requiring further research. This shows that scientific studies refers that persistent and recurrent use of internet games, and a concern with them, can result in clinically significant impairment or distress.
There is a number of research that shows some attention-grabbing facts around problematic gaming that service providers need to be aware of when supporting children, youth, and families.
Research finds that gaming can actually have many benefits for children and youth, but there are also many games that have been created for various purposes that can be challenging for children, youth, and their families as they may be related to many adverse consequences.
There is a wide range of treatments, such as family therapy, counselling, and guides for children and their families/guardians who are struggling with gaming and related difficulties.
The clinical description portrayed is fictional. Any resemblance with real cases are purely coincidental.
There are different types of measures supported by scientific research that are being adapted for children and youth. Several instruments may be completed by clinicians and some others are self-administered. Before using any tool or instrument for assessment purposes, service providers must complete a comprehensive interview with children, youth and families. Practitioners can use these tools to assess and screen the behaviours, emotions, and thoughts of the individual who are experiencing negative effects of problematic gaming.
The problematic use of gaming has quickly attracted the attention of many professionals to generate resources for children and youth and their families. Service providers may need access to resources for accurate diagnosis, such as educational resources, medical examination, clinical history, observation, referrals, screening, assessment; family members, and school’s staff interviews. As part of the support provided, it is recommended that service providers consider the individual’s context and their physical, cognitive and emotional functioning. This will help service providers generate a comprehensive assessment and treatment.