When does video gaming become an addiction?

Experts weigh in on when a hobby goes too far

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Since Fortnite hit the screens, it's taken the video gaming industry by storm.

Some say the game is getting players addicted, enough for one Canadian firm to seek a class action lawsuit against Fortnite creator, Epic Games, on behalf of two parents who say their 10 and 15-year-old children are addicted to the game.

"It becomes unbearable at home," said Alessandra Esposito Chartrand, a Calex Legal attorney. "They won't go for dinner, sometimes they won't shower, it's actual addiction and it takes over their lives."

In May, the World Health Organization officially recognized video game addiction as a mental health disorder.

"With gaming disorder, it really says there can be an addictive aspect to gaming," said Graham Reynolds with the American Institute for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

A person may be addicted to gaming if they struggle to control how much they play, if gaming take priority over other responsibilities and if gaming continues despite negative consequences.

"Is it getting in the way? Is there impairment in functioning in day-to-day life?" Reynolds said.

In those extreme cases, experts suggest getting professional help. Rehab programs that focus on tech addiction are available for help. Setting boundaries may also help prevent bad habits.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends under 30 to 60 minutes gaming on school nights and less than 2 hours on non-school nights," Reynolds said.

Another realistic solution is instituting a cut-off time or rules with clear consequences.

The lawsuit could take up to a year for a judge in Quebec to decide if it moves forward.

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