Games are compelling but do we need Big Brother to tell us?

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Games are compelling. Games have always been compelling. Yet when a US Gaming Group has to visit Geneva to try and persuade the World Health Organisation (WHO) that ‘gaming disorder’ is not a disease, then you have to wonder whether things have gotten out of hand.

Even before screens games were pretty addictive. Remember Labyrinth, a wooden box with a hole filled surface that tilted and you had to guide a marble past the holes, to the finish? An entire summer wasted in endless effort.

In fact the whole screen time issue is getting out of hand.

We now have apps that tell us whether our screen time is up or down. The WHO has been looking at the issue of games for some years apparently. Last year it added ‘gaming disorder’ to its list of potential health problems.

Of course there are people with addictive personalities who will overdo the gaming, the gambling or the drinking. Yet the vast majority of people know when to stop or have parents, peer groups or friends who will tell them when to stop. Surely we do not need to have our fun regulated.

It is also true that the thirst for online games, for Facebook, Twitter and the rest is beginning to wane.

The double, if not triple whammy of social media sites playing fast and loose with our data, the ridiculous and irresponsible deluge of irrelevant adverts, plus the feeling that companies know more about what we like and want than we do. Google, as an example, collects eye-watering amounts of data on our digital behavior.

The overdose of screen addiction is curing itself. The enthusiasm created by being able to do anything on a ‘phone’ is waning as it becomes commonplace. Younger kids are breathing the fresh air again, jumping in puddles and screaming with laughter.

So why do we need the WHO to tell us that ‘gaming disorder’ is a ‘thing’ and a health problem?

The answer is that we don’t. We can tell ourselves when and if we have a problem and seek professional help as we have been able to for years.

Now, a quick game of Panda Pop before lunch methinks.

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