“However, the NHS should not be left to pick up the pieces – gambling and internet firms have a responsibility to their users as well as their shareholders and should do their utmost to prevent rather than cash in on obsessive or harmful behaviour.”
The Centre for Internet and Gaming Disorders, based in London, will see psychiatrists and psychologists work with those aged aged between 13-25 suffering from severe or complex behavioural issues linked to gaming, gambling or social media.
The national service – the first of its kind – comes alongside 14 gambling clinics for adults being opened across the country.
Health chiefs called for far more to be done to help prevent internet addiction, highlighting strict steps taken elsewhere.
The NHS said other countries grappling with internet and gaming addiction had taken other steps to protect children.
They cited the example of South Korea, where the government has introduced a law banning access for children under 16 from online games between midnight and 6am.