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Addicted to games? Maybe not in China

New, non-western, definition of games addiction under way for Chinese

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China is reportedly hard at work on its very own definition of gaming addiction, according to Xinhua, the multi-lingual Chinese newswire service that that has “setting a good image of China abroad as its main task.”

China has long-recognised gaming and internet addiction as real syndromes worthy of corrective action, because both consume youth to such an extent they sometimes turn to crime. The corrective actions used in the Middle Kingdom have not always been kind. Last year, for example, we reported on a new licensing scheme implemented to ensure operators of internet detox camps don’t beat fervour for all things online out of their clients.

Xinhua’s latest report on the issue is at odds with some of its previous tales on the subject, which reported that the nation’s finest psychologists defined gaming addiction back in 2008.

Today’s report says “If cases are assessed based on imported criteria developed for groups with different cultural and social backgrounds, it could result in misdiagnosis, according to a special workplan jointly issued by 15 ministry-level authorities on Sunday.”

Does that mean China’s indigenous definition didn’t take root? Or wasn’t widely propagated?

Perhaps Xnihua’s explanation that “The plan calls on researchers to develop tools to identify the early stages of potential addiction, so as to enable early intervention for minors” is an indication the new definition will be extended to offer prophylactic diagnoses.

Whatever the motivation, this is probably not a good time to get upset about those new Angry Birds levels on a bus in Beijing. ®

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