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November 10, 2019

Clinic for video gaming addicts to be opened in UAE next week

National

November 10, 2019

ABU DHABI: An outpatient (OP) clinic for video gaming addicts will be opened next year in Abu Dhabi, a senior UAE official revealed.

According to the UAE official news agency WAM, the UAE National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) will open the outpatient clinic in its premises in Abu Dhabi to serve both Emiratis and expatriates in the country.

Last year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) listed gaming addiction - which they call "gaming disorder" - as a mental health condition for the first time. The NRC’s initiative to open the clinic for gaming addicts is in the wake of a decision of the WHO, the Director General of rehabilitation centre Dr Hamad Al Ghaferi said.

According to the NRC, video games especially mobile gaming remains extremely popular in the UAE. The UAE is consistently ranked amongst the world’s top 100 gaming markets based on revenue source, with more than 80 per cent of smartphone users in the UAE identifying themselves as ”mobile gamers”, revealed in the study.

However, the UAE has not treated any case of gaming addiction as of now, Al Ghaferi stated. "We did not receive any patients as such. We have to raise awareness within the community and we have to alert families about this possible problem," he noted.

According to media reports, China is also imposing a curfew on online gaming for minors. Gamers under 18 will be banned from playing online between 22:00 and 08:00. They will also be restricted to 90 minutes of gaming on weekdays and three hours on weekends and holidays. China is one of the world's largest gaming markets.

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