There has been a sharp rise in the number of youngsters being treated for gaming addiction, Nos television said on Sunday.
In 2011, 256 youngsters were treated for their addiction to playing computer games but that had risen to 426 last year, Nos said. Nos bases its claims on figures from eight addiction clinics nationwide.
Some of the gamers seeking treatment are as young as 10 or 11 and are becoming more extreme in their obsession, Jan Willem Poot of the Yes We Can Clinic group told the broadcaster. ‘Some of them are gaming 18 hours a day. They don’t go to school, use a lot of drugs and are neglecting themselves.’
Research by Erasmus University teaching hospital in 2011 suggested some 1.5% of teenaged boys aged 13 to 16 are addicted to online games.
Horst Streck, chairman of the sector group Dutch Games Association said that while every addict is one too many, designers to have an ethical responsibility.
‘There is nothing wrong with most games but in some, like World of Warcaft, where there is great social pressure to keep playing, boundaries can be broken,’ he said.
The industry, government, addiction clinics and health services need to work together to combat the problem, he said.