Great, just what folks like Jack Thompson and Lyndon LaRouche need -- more ammo. According to Spong, the American Medical Association is "is preparing to recognise 'Internet/video game addiction' as a 'formal diagnostic disorder.'" The proposal is titled the "Report Of The Council On Science And Public Health: Emotional and Behavioral Effects, Including Addictive Potential, of Video Games" and includes the AMA's definition of a "gamer":
"A gamer is a term used to describe a person who plays games. Historically, a gamer was someone who played role-playing games or war games, but more recently the term has come to include computer and video game players. Although the term technically includes those who do not necessarily consider themselves gamers (ie, casual gamers), it is a commonly used colloquial term to identify persons who spend as much of their leisure time as possible playing or reading about games."
Okay, fine we're gamers; I get that. What I'm more interested in is what the AMA's definition of "addiction" is and how much gaming is too much. I know plenty of people who constantly play video games and are generally functioning and non-destructive (to themselves or others) members of society (see everyone here at GayGamer). Of course, there are the few people who take it too far -- for instance, the few MMORPG players (out of millions) who have died at their keyboards. And as for those who have hurt others or themselves, it's like I've said before: some violent and/or mentally ill people play video games, but video games don't make people violent and/or mentally ill. If that was the case, there would be a lot more crazy people running around (especially in Japan, South Korea and China).
While I'm not opposed to those with video games addictions getting help, I am concerned that new AMA rules will infringe on my game time (as I like to believe that I do not have a mental disorder related to my gaming). The AMA has proposed several calls to action, which include asking the FTC, ESRB and parent-teacher organizations to "review the current ratings system for accuracy and appropriateness relative to content, and establish an improved ratings systems based on a combined effort from the entertainment industry and peer review." However, most of these proposals seem to be aimed at children, and typically no one argues with that. We'll just have to wait and see what happens...
American Doctors Want Videogame 'Addiction' Recognised [Spong]