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Swedish teen sectioned due to gaming 'addiction'

Swedish teen sectioned due to gaming 'addiction'

Published: 24 Oct 2012 10:01 GMT+02:00
Updated: 24 Oct 2012 10:01 GMT+02:00

A 16-year-old boy who was "addicted" to computer games has been involuntarily committed to institutional care after his parents were unable to get him to stop playing.

The boy was so focused on his game playing that he physically attacked his father whenever he asked his son to stop playing.

Police were also called to the family's home on several occasions, according to the court ruling authorizing the boy be committed to institutional care, the Metro newspaper reported.

The frustrated parents first contacted social services last year after their son's incessant computer game playing caused his health to deteriorate and resulted in a "non-functioning circadian rhythm".

After efforts by social workers proved fruitless, the parents turned to the courts in hopes they could get help for their son through Sweden's Care of Young Persons Act (Lag med särskilda bestämmelser om vård av unga – LVU).

According to the statute, young people, generally between 12- and 21-years-old, can be taken out of their homes by social services and housed in facilities run by the National Board of Institutional Care.

Around 20,000 young people in Sweden are placed in special treatment homes each year, either due to family problems or because of their own behavioural problems, including criminal activity and addiction.

In its ruling, the court found that the 16-year-old's parents lacked the tools to deal with their son's computer gaming problems and thus ordered he be sent to a treatment home.

While the boy insists he is not addicted to computer games, a judge with the Malmö Administrative Court which ruled on the case disagreed.

"If playing computer games results in a person foregoing everything else, it's comparable to an addiction," Judge Ola Brändström told Metro.

Psychologist Owe Sandberg, one of Sweden's most prominent experts in gaming addiction, told the paper that he is contacted daily by distraught parents who are concerned about their children's gaming habits.

"The reward system is the same for World of Warcraft as it is for drugs," he told Metro, lamenting a lack of recognition of the problem by authorities in Sweden.

Most calls concern boys who are 16 or 17 and have dropped out of school as a result of their gaming.

"Some have this crazy notion that they can support themselves doing it, and they totally lose a grip on their lives," he told the paper.

Sandberg thinks computer gaming addiction should be a medical diagnosis of its own.

The case isn't the first time a Swedish teen has been sectioned for computer gaming addiction. In 2010, the Växjö Administrative Court ordered a 16-year-boy be placed in treatment after computer gaming caused him to skip school for several terms and he threatened to commit suicide.

TT/The Local/dl

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Your comments about this article

10:40 October 24, 2012 by Grendel_T_Troll
Yes, this is tragic.....being addicted to a game is bad enough, but to waste your addiction fervor on a turd like World of Warcraft is shameful.......
11:09 October 24, 2012 by camsasuke
Gaming on a mac? Rookie move!
11:35 October 24, 2012 by reader
"In its ruling, the court found that the 16-year-old's parents lacked the tools to deal with their son's computer gaming problems and thus ordered he be sent to a treatment home."

"Lacked the tools to deal with their son's computer gaming problems"!

The tools have been taken away by the nanny state! It is impossible to discipline or control wayward children and young adults in Sweden because you'll get arrested and prosecuted on the say so of an irate youth! The parents are never believed.
12:10 October 24, 2012 by smilingjack
from someone who grew up and spent every cent playing galaga, tron etc and having a 12yo son I can understand the love of video games. but unlike me my son plays them at home. he would play halo and cod around the clock. we at least bought him portal 2 which he lapped up. yes there were tanties when he was restricted. if your going to have children you need to realise they need to be parented 24 hours a day. having children comes with responsibilities like massively reduced "indulging". end of story. and dishing out discipline!

we have a large very botanic block and when his 2 hour a day ( on weekends ) limit was reached he had to do the 2km run around the block for an extra hour or an hour of shovelling mulch and watering. no problems at all. that was for a bonus 2 hours. OK there is the added time bonus of dual game play with me:)

havent played world of warcraft and probably wont now.
13:11 October 24, 2012 by fakeempire
As someone who has been a gamer for nearly my whole life, I am glad I never truly became addicted. I was taught to put my priorities first and my reward was gaming.

So when I was in grade school, I always made sure to do my homework first and my chores. Then the evening was to gaming SNES, and then as the year progressed, Playstion, N64, etc. In High school, same thing though with PS2 and PC. When I started working in high school, I still gamed on the free time, but I never skipped a day of school or work just to play games (though I did end up gaming when I was sick). I even made it to Assistant Manager at Gamestop through college in the states before moving to Sweden. So gaming has been a huge part of life. I even met my husband through a game online (Dota) and now we play a lot of games together. (Reason I moved to Sweden).

But, like I said, work and chores first, then gaming second. We both work 8 hours a day, then come home, make dinner, then game for an hour or two. Sure I put some chores off for a couple hours or a day or two, but we always manage our lifestyle and that is how we are. It works for us!

Gaming is a hobby to me, it isn't an addiction. Though I see how it can become an addiction. It is really interesting when something of a hobby grows to an addiction. When and how? Anyways, I am glad this kid is getting help.
19:33 October 24, 2012 by Grokh
this looks more like bad parenting than anything else.
21:52 October 24, 2012 by dizzymoe33
How about taking the computer away and disciplining him by doing chores around the house or go volunteer at a hospital or and elderly care facility or pick up trash from around the neighborhood?!

Parents when you spread your legs to have some fun and make a baby by doing that guess what time to grow up and teach the kid some boundaries and responsibilities!!!
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