Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 17 October 2019

UK opens first gaming addiction clinic

Experts say children are ruining their lives by spending hours playing online games

'Gaming disorder' has been described by the World Health Organisation as a way of life in which video games take precedence over everything else. Alamy
'Gaming disorder' has been described by the World Health Organisation as a way of life in which video games take precedence over everything else. Alamy

The UK’s state-run health service has opened its first unit dedicated to treating children addicted to computer games.

Young people aged 13 to 25, whose lives are being wrecked by spending 12 hours a day gaming, will be sent to the unit for the first time this month.

The chief executive of the National Health Service, Simon Stevens, said: "This new service is a response to an emerging problem, part of the increasing pressures that children and young people are exposed to these days.”

The clinic – part of the Centre for Internet and Gaming Disorders – is the UK’s response to a global problem that is starting to be addressed by health agencies.

The World Health Organisation describes “gaming disorder” as a way of life in which playing computers games takes precedence over everything else in life.

The South Korean government has introduced a law banning children under 16 from playing online games between midnight and 6am.

Chinese internet giant Tencent has limited the hours that children can play the most popular games.

Updated: October 8, 2019 12:46 PM

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