Children who are so deeply engrossed in Fortnite, along with other video games, now officially have a health issue.
The World Health Organization has classified gaming disorder as a mental health problem. The United Nations agency included gaming disorder in the new draft of the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases, which was released in June.
This means that the disorder is now recognized as a health condition, with a diagnosis that can be used by healthcare providers and insurance companies.
‘Fortnite’ In Focus
According to ICD-11, those suffering from gaming disorder have trouble getting their gaming behaviors under control, letting it reign over their lives and daily routine.
“The behavior pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning,” warned ICD-11, noting that the behavioral pattern may be continual, episodic, or recurrent.
Addiction to the game Fortnite, in particular, is being scrutinized as many kids spend time and money on it, even getting scammed in the process.
In the game, a player fights against 99 others after jumping out of a plane onto an island, with the mission to kill each other until one is left standing. While seeking to win, a player should also land as many kills as possible.
How To Prevent Destructive Gaming Behavior
Dr. Umran Ali, senior lecturer in creative media at the University of Salford in the United Kingdom, offered advice to gamers and their parents about cultivating a healthy interest in gaming instead of getting addicted.
He said that while there is “nothing particularly addictive” in Fortnite design, it can be easily learned by younger children, doesn’t require so much time, and isn’t repetitive like others.
“There is an incredibly rich social aspect, albeit a virtual one, with games like Fornite - ignore the tabloids and see it for yourself, or even better start playing games with your children,” said Ali, who teaches students in video game design.
Ali further explained that with games as a highly diverse way to promote interest in real-world pursuits, they can be used to help in self-discovery. To promote the educational benefits, parents can offer kids other free software and games designed to be fun, help harness new skills, and ignite passion.
The WHO reminded that addictive gaming behavior should normally be evident over a 12-month period for a diagnosis to be made. This duration, however, may be shortened if all requirements are met and severe symptoms manifest.