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Pushing Buttons: Video game addiction is real – but parents shouldn’t worry too much

Gaming is a huge force for good, but developers using gambling industry tactics are causing nothing but harm • Don’t get Pushing Buttons delivered to your inbox? Sign up here Over the weekend, the Guardian published a trio of stories about video game addiction. One was about the 850 people referred to an NHS treatment clinic in the last three years (of whom 227 were under 18). Another was on developers’ use of tactics from the gambling industry to keep people spending on games. The third was by the director of the National Centre for Gaming Disorders, calling for industry regulation to better protect young people. These stories concern a problem that is certainly real, especially so for people affected by compulsive gaming behaviour, whose stories are no less affecting than those of gambling addicts. They also highlight a need for mechanisms to help struggling people. For adults, it is possible to exclude yourself from casinos and lock yourself out of online gambling accounts, should you request it; no such possibility exists if you’re finding yourself dropping thousands on a free-to-play mobile game instead. For under-18s, the paucity of help available to families and young people struggling with social isolation or destructive behaviour at home, of which compulsive gaming can be a part, is one fact of a youth mental health crisis across the UK, where 250,000 young people are going without help . Continue reading...

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