Video Game addiction and excessive playing, among both children and adults, has attracted the attention of the World Health Organization, among other groups.
In the wake of the rise in popularity of online games like Fortnite, the WHO has moved to officially label "gaming disorder" as a mental health condition. According to Deanna Brown, councilor at the Estevan Family Center, the move is a step in the right direction.
"Classifying it as a disorder, perhaps people will pay more attention to how much screen time their kids are actually getting," Brown said.
"I think we've seen an increase over the last few years especially with how advanced technology is becoming and how easily accessible it is to everyone. You have three year-old kids with iPads who sometimes know how to use them better than the adults buying them."
The disorder won't officially go into the WHO's mandate until 2019, but recent months have created a push for video game addiction to be taken more seriously. A report by Sportsnet indicated that an NHL prospect from a recent draft had done severe damage to his career through excessive gaming.
According to the WHO, gaming disorder means someone who displays "a pattern of consistent or recurrent gaming behavior despite negative consequences". While the definition is broad, the WHO believe no more than three percent of gamers have this problem.
Brown says if you feel someone is reaching that point, it's better to act sooner than later.
"When you first start feeling that concern, talk to a professional," she said. "Don't wait until it gets excessive to do something. Prevention is always better than band-aiding after the fact."
There are also ways for parents to keep an eye on the amount of time kids spend gaming during the summer months when children spend more time at home than during the school year.
"Talk to your service provider about outting parental links on your wifi and limiting access, minimizing screen time. It should be a privilege not a right. And monitor the type of websites they're visiting and games they're playing."
The American Psychiatric Association will not classify excessive gaming as a unique mental health disorder, due to a lack of evidence it needs that distinction, they said.