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LETTER: Online gaming needs attention

There have been a number of reports of the dangers of too much online gaming with concerns ranging from sore thumbs to poor school results although now the emphasis is on mental health.

WHO (World Health Organization) has now included it as a disorder in the draft version of the 2018 International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The idea that it is a medical issue seems difficult to comprehend for those over 30.

The older citizens have their own 'time wasters' – crosswords, card games, sudoko and these are not talked of as being addictive although another example, the poker machine, is a different matter altogether.

There seems to be many young people who spend much of their time online with Facebook – friends you have never met; Youtube – cats are cute; and Instagram – photos that don't seem real but the issue is can they stop.

A medically defined online addiction needs to be treated in the way of most addictions including recognizing the problem, stopping the action, finding the underlying cause and repairing relationships with family and friends. This is far more difficult than just switching off the device.

There needs to be an emphasis on a better use of time – study, sport and volunteering would be better options for themselves and others. There also needs to be some control over the inclusion of game components designed to get young people playing and keeping them playing.

Turn off, go outside and get some sunlight – it's actually nice.

Dennis Fitzgerald

Melbourne, Australia

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