WASHINGTON, DC – June 25, 2018 – Recent articles circulating in the news concerning the World Health Organization’s (WHO) proposed ‘gaming disorder’ inaccurately report that it has already been included in WHO’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD). In fact, this is still only a proposed draft, currently under review by experts around the globe.
As researchers concerned with careful, evidence-based recommendations, we note that no definitive evidence has yet been published that links video games as a medium to a disorder deserving of its own classification.Without sufficient evidence, WHO will only repeat a cycle of media scares that we’ve seen before in books, music, radio, and television. In our opinion, WHO should first demonstrate the proposed disorder is not due to other underlying evidence-based disorders or diagnoses, as opposed to video games as a medium, before including it in the ICD-11. Not to do so has the potential to cause great harm to individuals in true need of other substantiated and effective mental health diagnoses and treatments. We urge WHO to consider the lack of evidence supporting a causal link between a disorder and the medium of video games prior to including it in the ICD-11.
In order to continue the conversation, HEVGA Vice President Lindsay Grace will be participating in a panel discussion at the Games for Change Festival this week on Friday, June 29 from 3:15-4:00pm ET. Other panelists include: Jennifer McNamara (Vice President of Serious Games, BreakAway Games), Kelli Dunlap (Mental Health Manager at iThrive Games, psychologist), and Victoria Van Voorhis (Founder and CEO of Second Avenue Learning).
Panelists will address WHO actions and the continued critique of games from social and scientific communities, present research findings and heuristics to critically assess claims, and equip attendees for meaningful dialogue around this classification driven by evidence, findings, and knowledge. A recording of the panel will be available to the public online following the Festival. If you will be at G4C, we encourage you to attend.