On January 1, the new edition of the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO). In this review, the institution establishes that, from now on, the compulsive use of video game it is considered an addictive disorder.

“The pattern of gambling behavior results in significant distress or significant impairment in areas of personal, family, social, educational, occupational, or other important functioning,” explains the classification in its eleventh edition.

As detailed, this addiction can develop both with video game online as with those that do not require internet. Both manifest themselves in the same way: little control over the game, higher priority over interests in life and daily activities, and the continuation of the game despite the negative consequences.

An evil on the rise

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According to a study published in the journal Flow, with the pandemic the number of new players increased by approximately 20% and the period of exposure in those who were already engaged in this activity by 40%. A high percentage corresponds to children and adolescents.

For many parents video game they are considered a simple recreational activity; however, the psychologist Clarissa warrior warns that it must be borne in mind that this can become an addiction and, like any other, can have severe consequences.

“Addiction to video game presents the same dangers as marijuana addiction, for example. And I want to be emphatic in this because many times, for the convenience of adults, we are not seeing the scope that excessive digital consumption can have on our children, ”says Guerrero, who is a child and adolescent therapist.

Hence the importance of controlling the use of video game, following the recommendations of the American Society of Pediatrics for each age: in children under two years of age, the use of electronic devices should be avoided, while for three to five years an exposure that does not exceed 45 minutes per day is recommended, always under adult supervision. After six years of age, one hour a day is enough, and in the case of children 10 and older, consumption increases to about two hours a day, divided into four periods of half an hour each.

How to Identify an Addiction to video game

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Gambling Disorder is accompanied by behaviors such as the extreme need to play long hours a day, aggressive and impulsive behavior, avoiding regular activities such as bathing, eating or sleeping by putting gambling first, as well as isolation and a repressed mood.

If you have identified these behaviors in your child, the expert points out that the first step is to show support, since it is an issue that involves the whole family, and not just one member. “There is not a child or young person who is addicted that does not come from a family interaction that promotes it. For this reason, everyone’s support and cooperation is important ”, he says.

Some of the measures that can be taken as a family, according to Guerrero, are:

-Specific hours for video game that are strictly respected and monitored by parents.

-Remove electronic devices two hours before sleeping. Although this sounds a bit extreme in the case of adolescents, he says, if it is already an addiction, it is more than necessary.

-Encourage physical activity to compensate for the fewer hours of screen that the child or young person will have, preferably outdoors.

-Establish moments of socialization and family interaction free of the use of screens.

-Promote socialization with friends in other ways that do not require video game or screens.

If playtime begins to interfere with daily activities, such as eating, sleeping, socializing with the family or doing chores, and irritability increases, the expert indicates that it is important to consult with a specialist to deepen. “If it is already something that is beyond the norm, you have to seek help immediately with a specialist since, the more time, the better, to work in the family for these employers.”

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