Gaming addiction: expert says removing technology from children violates their human rights

Computer, Headphones, Video Game, Desktop PC, Males
Computer, Headphones, Video Game, Desktop PC, Males

Banning kids from Fortnite could be violating their rights.

IN the wake of some parents claiming their kids are addicted to Fortnite, gaming addiction has been added to a disease classification manual and but experts are saying this is premature and removing technology from children is a violation of their human rights.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) added the disorder in its latest disease classification manual describing it as a pattern of persistent gaming behaviour so severe it “takes precedence over other life interests”.

But experts say there is a lack of scientific evidence into video games and excessive screen time and say the move has made a hobby seem abnormal.

MORE: why is my kid obsessed with Fortnite? 

The draft version of the 11th International Classification of Diseases, published earlier this week, said impaired control over gaming and increased priority given to gaming are among the symptoms of the disorder.

Associate professor and director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute Professor Andy Przybylski, said: “I think it’s well-meaning but premature.”

He warned removing technology from children could be considered a breach of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

“Children do have a right to information, and so if we’re worried about the internet or technology or screens, and we’re taking them away, there is an argument to be made that we are violating their human rights,” he said.

Reader in psychology and science communication Dr Pete Etchells at Bath Spa University, said evidence in the area was “poor”.

“It looks as though we’ve got this clear set of formal criteria for diagnosing something, when really if you look at the research that underpins that we don’t yet,” he said.

The classification could cause unnecessary worry for parents and “sets us on a potentially slippery slope”, he added.

Officer for health promotion for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and a community paediatrician Dr Max Davie, said problems with gaming can often be associated with parenting, rather than the game or individuals.

“I think a lot of worry I have about diagnosis is where it places the difficulty in the child rather than in the system around the child, and particularly around the ability of parents to place boundaries around screen time,” he said.