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Don’t Mock the WHO for Its Sudden COVID-19 Linked Gaming U-Turn

COVID-19 is a global pandemic, and the WHO has finally recognized that gaming is an excellent way to help combat the mental damage it is doing.

  • The WHO announced a new program to encourage people to stay at home and game with their friends online.
  • Not only is this intended to promote social distancing, but also to help heal some of the mental health damage caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • This is a great move from the WHO, which has had a bad relationship with gaming in the past.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has a complicated relationship with gaming. Back in 2018, the WHO classified “Gaming Disorder” as a mental health condition. Two years later, the COVID-19 crisis has prompted them to make a wild U-turn.

As more and more people find themselves housebound, the organization is recommending gaming together as a strategy to avoid feeling isolated during the coronavirus pandemic.

Not only is this a great idea, but it shows that the WHO finally realizes that gaming is a multifaceted pastime.

Source: Twitter

COVID-19 Is a Danger to Mental Health as Well as Physical Health

Isolation can be a serious detriment to mental health. It is especially dangerous for those who live alone. Right now, COVID-19 is keeping many people away from their social circles. The WHO is right to recognize that gaming can be a part of the solution to that particular problem.

Online gaming provides a silver lining for those who are isolated from their friends and family. It allows groups of people to interact with each other without the danger of being exposed to COVID-19.

And the benefits don’t stop with online gaming.

Social Interaction and Escapism Are Two of the Most Important Parts of Gaming

Coronavirus quarantines make social interaction hard. Gaming is the cure for that problem. One that continues to yield results even after you switch off your console.

With the news constantly bombarding us with COVID-19 updates, it can be difficult to switch tracks in your brain to something more uplifting. And from sharing intel about Minecraft’s amazing April Fools’ Day prank to debating the merits of the latest AAA “leak” with your friends, gaming provides that escape.

Rather than talking about the latest death toll figures that have hit your country, you can discuss how things are going on your virtual tropical island. | Source: Nintendo

For all its negative reputation, escapism can be a positive thing during times like these. While the world outside might be scary and filled with plague, even single-player games let you inhabit worlds that aren’t so terrifying.

Games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons give us an easy way out. Rather than talking about the latest death toll figures that have hit your country, you can discuss how things are going on your virtual tropical island. That sort of benefit should not be discounted.

Kudos to the WHO for finally admitting it.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.

Last modified: September 23, 2020 1:47 PM

William Worrall

William Worrall is a professional writer based out of the UK who has been writing about video and tabletop games for over a decade and has covered industry events such as EGX and UKGE. Contact him at william.worrall@ccn.com, see his LinkedIn profile here.