A nine-year-old girl is in rehab after becoming addicted to a video game. The child, who obviously cannot be named, was so obsessed with playing that she wet herself to avoid stopping. She became violent and even hit her father when he tried to intervene. The game is Fortnite, which was launched last summer and has been downloaded over 40 million times. The child would play during the night, resulting in her falling asleep in school.
Her mother told The Sunday people; "We had no idea, when we let her play the game, of the addictive nature or the impact it could have on her mental health. My husband saw her light on in the night and found her sitting on a urine-soaked cushion playing the game. She was so hooked to the game she wouldn't even go to the toilet." The girl spent more than £50 a month on in-game purchases. She used her parents credit card.
Dr Richard Graham is lead technology addiction specialist at the Nightingale Hospital in London. He told the BBC that he sees around 50 new cases of digital addiction every year and that it is on the increase. He has claimed that gaming is having a profound effect on children, impairing their sleep, eating habits and their ability to socialise. It got so bad in South Korea that the government there introduced a law banning access for children under 16 from online games between midnight and 06:00. The law is a relatively new one, so I guess we'll have to wait and see what if any effect positive it has.
This year, The World Health Organisation has recognised excessive video game playing as a mental disorder. I know, I know. We should be wary of any and all edicts from the WHO. I'm sure they have prescription drugs at the ready. Kimberly Young, founder of the U.S. Centre For Internet Addiction believes that we could be heading for an epidemic. She said; "I don’t think we know exactly how many are suffering from this, but we know it’s a big problem. A modest estimate might be 5 percent. But 5 percent of American kids is a lot.”
Today, The Telegraph reports that; a 15-year-old boy is set to be diagnosed with internet gaming addiction in what is believed to be the first case of its kind in the NHS. The teenager from North London has been off school for a year after becoming so addicted to gaming that he has lost confidence to leave his home. The decision represents a potential breakthrough for his mother Miss Kendal Parmar who has battled for three years for help and to have his condition recognised and treated by the NHS.
Increasingly, child welfare experts are saying that they see a connection between obsessive gaming and traits associated with autism, attention deficit disorders, anxiety and depression. I'll say it then shall I? Vaccines. I wonder if the child psychologists who see this connection between gaming addiction, ADHD and autism have considered that there just might be a connection with vaccines, taking into account that the average child receives over a dozen (and counting) shots before he/she is five years old? Don't hold your breath waiting for the penny to drop. In the meantime, as I said in an article last week, no matter how much they kick and scream, take their smartphones and video game consoles away. Get them outside in the fresh air. One day, they might just thank you for it.