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Gaming addiction is expected to be classified as a mental disorder by the World Health Organisation (WHO) but – while concerns over the addictive properties of video games are reasonable – there is a lack of rigorous research to back it up.

Video games played on smartphones, tablets, computers and consoles have been a popular form of leisure for some time now. In Europe, recent figures indicate that games are played by more than two thirds of children and adolescents, and a substantial number of adults now play games – 38% in the UK, 64% in France, 56% in Germany and 44% in Spain.

The WHO will publish the next revision of its manual – the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) – by mid-2018 and gaming disorder has been included in the draft for the first time.

The ubiquity of mobile devices has means electronic games can be played at any time and their sales eclipse both music and video sales in the UK. Given the growing popularity and motivational pull of video games, concern over their addiction is inevitable.

Read the full article on The Conversation website, written by Amy Orben and Andy Przybylski, Oxford Internet Institute.

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