For many years, parents have raised concerns that their children might be addicted to video games.

The emergence of Fortnite and other online games has since seen gaming addiction in young children and teens spiral.

Now, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has officially added video game addiction — characterised by "a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour" that "takes precedence over other life interests" — to their International Classification of Diseases (ICD) database.

To be diagnosed with this disorder, people must be playing video games so much that it "takes precedence over other life interests", as well as a "continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences".

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In most cases, a person is diagnosed with gaming disorder after showing symptoms for at least 12 months, according to the WHO.

Telcos like Samsung partner with Fortnite to provide exclusive content to buyers. Photo / News Corp Australia
Telcos like Samsung partner with Fortnite to provide exclusive content to buyers. Photo / News Corp Australia

Shekhar Saxena, the WHO's expert on mental health and substance abuse expert, says only a small fraction of video game players will develop "gaming disorder".

In the more extreme cases, experts found some individuals played video games for up to 20 hours a day and didn't eat or sleep, as well as engage in normal activities like school or work.

The Video Games Coalition, an industry lobby group, tells NBC News in a statement that the products they represent are "enjoyed safely and sensibly by more than 2 billion people worldwide".

The group is calling for the WHO to re-examine its assessment, adding that studies have shown video games could have "educational, therapeutic, and recreational value".