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Sweden: Child in Protective Care Following Excessive Online Gaming

(July 16, 2014) On April 11, 2014, the District Administrative Court in Linköping, Sweden, granted a petition by the Socialnämnd (Social Welfare Committee) to take a 14 year-old youth into protective care based on his excessive gaming. (14-åring tvångsvårdas för datorspelande – “socialt nedbrytande situation,” DAGENS JURIDIK (Apr. 16, 2014).)

The child had not attended school since September 2013 and spent all his waking hours playing games on his computer. Although the court did not find that the parents had necessarily been at fault for deficient care for their son, it held that the child needed to be put in protective care to provide him neuropsychological treatment and protect him from his socially destructive behavior. (Id.) The parents did not oppose the proposed treatment targeting the socially destructive behavior. (Förvaltningsrätten i Linköping, Unit 2, Decision No. 2042-14 (Apr. 11, 2014), copy on file with author.)

Under Swedish law, a child will be treated against his or her (or the child’s parents’) will if:

• 2 § […] based on physical or psychological abuse or other forms of abuse [otillbörligt utnyttjande], defects in care, or any other circumstance in the home there is a considerable risk that the youth’s health or development will be harmed.

• 3 § ¶ 1. […] the youth exposes his health or development to considerable risk of harm by the abuse of dependency-creating substances, criminal activity, or any other socially destructive behavior. (Lag med särskilda bestämmelser om vård av unga [Act on Special Regulations on Care of Young] (Svensk Författningssamling [SFS] 1990:52.)