The NHS is due to launch its first ever clinic for internet and gaming addictions following growing concern over the problem and the World Health Organisation (WHO) classifying it as a mental health condition. The clinic’s founder and psychiatrist Henrietta Bowden-Jones has stated that the issue has been acknowledged in a number of countries and that the clinic will really help those who struggle with any form of internet addiction, which is defined as behaviour “so severe it takes precedence over other life interests”. The centre will be a place of research, treatment and guidance to families.
The fact that a global organisation such as WHO and the UK state healthcare provider NHS are officially acknowledging internet addiction as a mental health issue to be treated signals a confirmation that technology, or the internet and gaming in particular, are having significant detrimental impacts on human health.
Is this a sign that we are starting to recognise the downsides of technological advances? How far-reaching will their negative impacts be, and what will it take to respond rapidly?
Will internet site and game designers take heed of the growing problem seen in young people and adults alike? And who else should take responsibility?