New tech 'addictions' are mostly just old moral panic https://t.co/j4LVdJI8A5
But video games aren't the only aspect of internet society that has people concerned. A 2016 study by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that helps teens and their parents navigate modern media, found that nearly half of the teens surveyed described themselves as "addicted" to their phones. In August of the same year, British media watchdog Ofcom's survey found that 60 percent of people in the UK felt themselves similarly addicted. Even Selfitis -- the compulsive need to take and post pictures of yourself to social media -- is now considered a genuine mental health disorder.
But is it really? Not everybody in the medical community is on board with such an assessment. Some researchers have argued that this is simply another example of "moral panic": a remarkably common phenomenon in our culture, arising repeatedly in our history seemingly whenever a new generation asserts its values (which are often at odds with the previous generation's) on society.
The IDC's characterization of "gaming disorder" includes a variety of symptoms such as impaired control over gameplay, prioritizing gaming over other interests and continuing the behavior even after negative consequences. These criteria are similar to what the American Psychiatric Association (APA) proposed in 2013 for inclusion in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Dubbed Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) by the APA, its nine characterization criteria include the inability to self-regulate game playing at the expense of other interests.
In fact, a group of more than two dozen doctors and researchers sent an open letter to the WHO in 2016, arguing that formalizing the disorder lacked scientific merit and could cause real harm to patients.