Korean trade body and leading academics join opposition to WHO "gaming disorder"

By Sergey Galyonkin [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Last month, we joined forces with our sister trade associations from around the world to write a strongly worded letter to the World Health Organisation (WHO) raising our concerns over the move to include ‘gaming disorder’ in their revised manual, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). This week we were joined by Korea Association of Games Industry (KGames), underscoring the growing worldwide opposition to the WHO’s video game proposal.

We believe that the intention to include a classification of ‘gaming disorder’ is premature, as the evidence upon which it is based is highly contested by academics around the world. This week, leading academics Andrew Przybylski and Amy Orben urged the WHO to postpone the formalisation of ‘gaming disorder’ whilst further studies are undertaken.

We are greatly encouraged to see our call for greater scrutiny echoed by significant number from the academic community, including Przybylski and Orben, in a new paper entitled ‘A weak scientific basis for gaming disorder: Let us err on the side of caution’. We hope this call will lead to further research into the topic, as the lack of academic consensus suggests the best course of action would be to postpone any classification until the evidence base is robustly reviewed and avoiding any potentially damaging incorrect decisions being made.

The international games trade associations believe the WHO’s process is deeply flawed, lacking transparency and objective scientific support. Video games are a normal and healthy activity for more than two billion people around the world. The educational, therapeutic and recreational value of games is well-established and can be a useful tool in equipping individuals with the  media literacy and critical thinking skills that will enable them to fully enjoy online experiences safely in an increasingly digital world.

We will keep you updated of further progress on this incredibly important issue. Please get in touch with Tim@ukie.org.uk if you want to get involved with any of our lobbying efforts.