No Game, No Life: With the World Health Organisation recently recognising compulsive gaming as a mental health disorder, how can the EU harness the benefits of video games in supporting learning and developing cognitive skills while combating video gaming addiction?
ENVI I Action Plan
Motion for an Action Plan by the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety I
Submitted by: Ilinca Bodnar (FR), Samuel Carn (DK), Livia Draaisma (NL), Jan Drastil (CZ), Emma Høyeraal Leen (NO), Sveva Giordani Ressel (IT), João Salgado (PT), Elena Stunda (NL), Jente Vredenbregt (NL); Lazaros Hadjforados (Chairperson, CY)
In 2018, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised compulsive gaming as an official mental health condition because of its increasing prevalence. Yet, evidence indicates a positive side to video games, particularly as an educational tool used to improve learning and cognition. Therefore, the EU needs to find a balance between promoting video games as a pedagogical learning tool and combating video game addiction prevalence.
The European Youth Parliament recommends taking the following actions on the
- Asks students to undergo yearly screening test at schools to check if any student exhibits symptoms of video game addiction provided by the Member States;
- Hopes that those who tested positive for symptoms of gaming addiction will be referred to a specialist for further examination, with support of the Member States’ Ministries of Health;
- Proposes Member States ensure that this compulsive gaming treatment is covered by national health insurance schemes;
- Calls upon Member States to instruct their Ministers of Health to organise anonymised focus groups aimed at supporting individuals diagnosed with compulsive gaming;
- Encourages Member States to collaborate with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as the European Schoolnet to create training programmes for teachers on:
- game-based learning,
- understanding the signs of excessive gaming and gaming addiction,
- digital literacy;
- Suggests Member States instruct financial services companies to impose a mandatory two-step authentication procedure when paying online by 2023;
- Requests Member States to raise awareness of the benefits and dangers of video games by organising:
- expert talks;
- Further requests Member States to implement warning texts about the risks of excessive gaming across gaming platforms;
- Invites the Directorate-General of Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) of the European Commission to create a Task Force aimed at:
- creating a legislative framework for combating compulsive gaming,
- supporting Member States to promote video games as pedagogical tool;
- Welcomes the newly created Task Force to create a standardised diagnostic and treatment algorithms for compulsive gaming;
- Calls upon the European Commission to propose a legislation for game developers to incorporate monthly in-game microtransaction limits;
- Affirms the Directorate-General of Research and Innovation (DG RTD) of the European Commission to invest in research on:
- better understanding the pathogenesis of video game addiction,
- use of video games in healthcare,
- benefits of video games in learning;
- Advises the DG RTD to set up a grant scheme to support organisations who want to promote video games as pedagogical support.
The vision of the Committee of Environment, Public Health and Food Safety I (ENVI I) is to propose holistic measures striving to harness the positive aspects of video games whilst combating the ongoing prevalence of compulsive gaming. The core of our action plan centres around inviting the European Commission to create a Task Force composed of stakeholders that both affect and are affected by video games. Their responsibility is to assist the Commission in the hope of creating a legal framework and policy proposals for the Member States to create a European operational framework that would help better their pedagogy through game-based learning and gamification and safeguard their citizens from video game addiction.