UK opens first clinic for children addicted to video games

By Marta Juras


Oct 11, 2019

Reading time: 2 min

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service launched a clinic for tackling video game addiction at London’s National Centre for Behavioural Addictions.

While not everyone agrees on the nature and validity of it, video game addiction has been acknowledged in some mental health spaces. Once an individual’s passion for gaming starts negatively impacting their day-to-day life and manifesting as a potential psychiatric disorder, potentially triggering depression or compulsive behaviors, playing games might stop being just a hobby.

For that reason, the UK is taking steps to fight video game addiction by launching a clinic specifically designed to combat it. The clinic will offer one-to-one therapy sessions for those whose passion for gaming went too far, especially for children.

How will clinics treat video game addiction? 


The diagnosis of video game addiction remains questionable. 

With the clinic going into business, parents might put their children to psychiatric therapy sessions simply because they like spending their free time playing games, which is something that older generations are not yet accustomed to. Some media outlets have continued to make video games sound far more dangerous than they really are. Putting a healthy child through therapies because of their hobbies would more present new traumas and give results opposing those that a parent should seek for their child.

Ironically, one of the arguments for gaming addiction is the lack of eye-to-eye socializing and the questioning of online socializing as a valid alternative, and the clinic will be offering sessions over Skype. If online calls and chats are viable when it comes to tackling someone’s mental disorders, why aren’t they viable when it comes to hanging out and socializing while playing with friends from all over the world?

With exceptions in which video game addiction is a real potential problem, the approach media and governments are taking seems to be one lacking in understanding and nuance, and a refusal to admit to the prominence of gaming and the potential positives that come with it. It’s easier for some institutions to blame games for social ills and violence than facing and tackling the real issues.


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