NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – From playing “Fortnite” in their own homes for hours, to wandering city streets collecting Pokemon on their phones – many people are obsessed with video games.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is now saying that the obsession can become such an addiction it warrants being classified as an official disorder by the group.
“It has been an unbelievable avalanche of concern in the last few months since ‘Fortnite’ came to the forefront,” Dr. Alec Miller told CBS2’s Tony Aiello.
WHO has been studying the issue and now has formally classified “gaming disorder” as a mental health condition.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, playing two hours a day is average for most players. Game addiction however, can result in gamers spending several hours at a time in front of their screens.
“My nephew gets stuck on it, and he does it all night long,” one person said about their relative’s video game habits. “My nephew’s in his 30s!”
Dr. Miller cautions parents who are now worried their children are gaming addicts to look for key signs of addiction.
“When it’s affecting their lives where they’re not socializing with their friends the way they used to,” Miller explains. “If they’re not doing their sports as they used to, or if they’re lying about studying but meanwhile they’re in the basement doing this, or stealing money to pay for more ramping up on their games, that’s a problem.”
The doctor from Cognitive Behavioral Consultants in White Plains says parents should set limits on their children’s gaming and seek help when the habit impacts their life away from the game controller.
The video gaming industry is fighting back against WHO’s decision, calling their ruling flawed and likely to cause confusion and undue concern.