This paper is a response to a recent debate paper in which Aarseth et al. argue that the inclusion of a formal diagnosis and categories for problematic video gaming or Gaming Disorder (GD) in the World Health Organization’s 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) is premature and therefore the proposal should be removed. The present authors systematically address all the six main arguments presented by Aarseth et al. and argue that, even though some of the concerns presented in the debate paper are legitimate, the inclusion of GD in ICD-11 has more advantages than disadvantages. Furthermore, the present authors also argue that the two GD subtypes (“GD, predominantly online” and “GD, predominantly offline”) are unnecessary and rather problematic; the main category for GD would be perfectly sufficient.
Survey-based studies often fail to take into account the predictive value of a test, in other words, the probability of a person having (or not having) the disease when scoring positive (or negative) on the given screening test.
We re-visited the theory and basic calculations of diagnostic accuracy.
In general, the lower the prevalence the worse the predictive value is. When the disorder is relatively rare, a positive test finding is typically not useful in confirming its presence given the high proportion of false positive cases. For example, using the Compulsive Buying Scale (Faber & O’Guinn, 1992) three in four people classified as having compulsive buying disorder will in fact not have the disorder.
Screening tests are limited to serve as an early detection “gate” and only clinical (interview-based) studies are suitable to claim that a certain behaviour is truly “pathological”.
Empirical research into problematic video game playing suggests that overuse might cause functional and psychological impairments for a minority of gamers. Therefore, the need for regulation in the case of video games (whether governmental or self-imposed) has arisen but has only been implemented in a few countries around the world, and predominantly in Asia. This paper provides a systematic review of current and potential policies addressing problematic gaming.
After conducting a systematic search in the areas of prevention, treatment, and policy measures relating to problematic Internet and video game use, papers were selected that targeted problematic gaming policies (N = 12; six in English and six in Korean). These papers served as the basis of this review.
Policies were classified into three major groups: (i) policy measures limiting availability of video games (e.g., shutdown policy, fatigue system, and parental controls), (ii) measures aiming to reduce risk and harm (e.g., warning messages), and (iii) measures taken to provide help services for gamers. Beyond the attempt to classify the current and potential policy measures, the authors also tried to evaluate their efficiency theoretically and (if data were available) empirically.
Discussion and conclusions
Overall, it appears that although several steps have been taken to address problematic video game playing, most of these steps were not as effective as expected, or had not been evaluated empirically for efficacy. The reason for this may lie in the fact that the policies outlined only addressed or influenced specific aspects of the problem instead of using a more integrative approach.
Despite many positive benefits, mobile phone use can be associated with harmful and detrimental behaviors. The aim of this study was twofold: to examine (a) cross-cultural patterns of perceived dependence on mobile phones in ten European countries, first, grouped in four different regions (North: Finland and UK; South: Spain and Italy; East: Hungary and Poland; West: France, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland), and second by country, and (b) how socio-demographics, geographic differences, mobile phone usage patterns, and associated activities predicted this perceived dependence.
A sample of 2,775 young adults (aged 18–29 years) were recruited in different European Universities who participated in an online survey. Measures included socio-demographic variables, patterns of mobile phone use, and the dependence subscale of a short version of the Problematic Mobile Phone Use Questionnaire (PMPUQ; Billieux, Van der Linden, & Rochat, 2008).
The young adults from the Northern and Southern regions reported the heaviest use of mobile phones, whereas perceived dependence was less prevalent in the Eastern region. However, the proportion of highly dependent mobile phone users was more elevated in Belgium, UK, and France. Regression analysis identified several risk factors for increased scores on the PMPUQ dependence subscale, namely using mobile phones daily, being female, engaging in social networking, playing video games, shopping and viewing TV shows through the Internet, chatting and messaging, and using mobile phones for downloading-related activities.
Discussion and conclusions
Self-reported dependence on mobile phone use is influenced by frequency and specific application usage.
The proposed introduction of gaming disorder (GD) in the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) has led to a lively debate over the past year. Besides the broad support for the decision in the academic press, a recent publication by van Rooij et al. (2018) repeated the criticism raised against the inclusion of GD in ICD-11 by Aarseth et al. (2017). We argue that this group of researchers fails to recognize the clinical and public health considerations, which support the WHO perspective. It is important to recognize a range of biases that may influence this debate; in particular, the gaming industry may wish to diminish its responsibility by claiming that GD is not a public health problem, a position which maybe supported by arguments from scholars based in media psychology, computer games research, communication science, and related disciplines. However, just as with any other disease or disorder in the ICD-11, the decision whether or not to include GD is based on clinical evidence and public health needs. Therefore, we reiterate our conclusion that including GD reflects the essence of the ICD and will facilitate treatment and prevention for those who need it.