I want to let people in my electorate, in particular the parents, know that Fiona Stanley Hospital now has a seven-day-a-week addiction prevention and treatment service outpatient clinic that includes, at this point, a gaming addiction clinic. It has been reported that over half the clinic’s patients have been teenagers, but it has treated children as young as 11. In my experience, this reflects the growing risk of addiction to online gaming amongst our young people, ongoing compulsive gaming that excludes other activities in the young person’s life.
At four cybersafety sessions in two primary schools I did in recent weeks, I asked a question: ‘On weekends, how many of you spend as much time as you like online?’ The majority of hands go up in each of those sessions. They’re gaming late into the night, often not sleeping enough, further compounding the challenges they face just handling their everyday lives. Online addiction can disrupt the whole family. It can interfere with the children’s education; their sleep; their diet; their relationships, as I’ve mentioned; and can certainly have a major impact on that young person and what they choose to achieve in their life. I encourage parents to get in touch with Fiona Stanley Hospital and to always use the eSafety Commissioner site and its resources.