Editor's Note: A previous version of this story reported the American Psychological Association included internet gaming disorder. Since, the article has been changed to reflect that the American Psychiatric Association is the organization that classifies internet gaming disorder.  

Everyone remembers the joy of getting a new toy as a child — the quick, haphazardous unwrapping only to spend hours upon hours playing with it — but what if the act of playing with that toy could now be considered a disorder?

The World Health Organization (WHO) will now include “gaming disorder” in their 11 revisions of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), which is set to release mid-2018. 

Gaming disorder is defined in ICD-11 as a pattern of gaming behavior over a 12-month time span where a gamer is unable to control how long they play a game, puts gaming before their responsibilities and repeats this pattern despite knowing it has negative consequences, according to WHO’s website

This means that if a person plays video or internet games non-stop for a year and puts aside daily tasks like showering or homework, they have a disorder.

This appears to be in line with the American Psychiatric Association’s inclusion of “internet gaming disorder,” said Dr. George Gaither, an associate professor in Ball State’s Department of Psychological Studies and a licensed psychologist.

Gaither, however, does not believe excessive gaming is a disorder, but rather an addiction. He said one can be addicted to anything, including video games, if they use it in excess. 

“I don’t think there’s any behavior that’s problematic — it’s the overdoing of that behavior that becomes the problem,” he said.

According to “360° Gaming Report,” a Nielsen study — which surveyed 2,000 13-year or older U.S. consumers from 2013 to 2014 — the average gamer spends 6.3 hours a week playing video games, which to some is not enough to be considered an addiction or a disorder. 

Senior Jeffery Porter, president of the Super Smash Bros. Club, said the addictive thrill of a game is lost after a period of time

“After playing it for just some time, maybe a good three to four hours a day, after a week of having it ... I’ve played a good chunk of it not to be concerned about playing more,” Porter said. 

However, he said the difference between playing video games or playing sports for long periods of time is that “video games are looked down upon by adults.” Because working or playing sports are considered positive activities by society, he said, they are encouraged, so there won’t be an excessive working or excessive sporting disorder in the ICD-11. 

“I think it’s interesting that WHO is making this a disorder and not [making] watching TV or movies one,” said senior Alex Franklin, a psychology major and a member of the Super Smash Bros. Club. “At least with video games you’re doing something and not just sitting in front of the TV doing nothing.” 

Sophomore Ian White, also a member of the Super Smash Bros. Club, pointed out that video games require active attention from a player the same way a book would from a reader. Because there is a stigma on gaming, White said, playing a game for an extensive period of time seems worse than reading for that same time span.

“A book and a video game can do well at immersing you into a world. Both do a good job of keeping your attention for a long time and getting you lost,” White said. “There’s been more of a stigma when it comes to talking about video games than something like books, even though I feel like they’re somewhat similar in terms of the end goal of getting you lost in a world, or even lost in an experience.”

Contact Hannah Gunnell with comments at hrgunnell@bsu.edu