- Following the passing of a new penal law that placed a ban on PUBG in Gujarat, ten students were arrested for the crime.
- The authorities were under pressure from various parents and educator groups who urged them to do something about it.
- The IFF appeals against the law and its enforcement through actual arrests, calling it a blatant violation of fundamental human rights.
Last month, the authorities of Gujarat, India’s sixth largest state, decided to place a ban on playing PUBG (Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds). The reason for this radical move was the rising concern for the addiction that the game caused to younger generations, with the local minister going to the extent of calling it ‘a demon in every house.’ Apparently, not everyone took the ban seriously, as the police proceeded to arrest ten college students who were too preoccupied playing PUBG that they didn’t even notice the officers approaching them.
Parents and educators from across the country are pressing the lawmaking authorities to take action against the popular battle royale game, that is sucking younglings into a spiral of virtual violence. While PUBG is not the only product of this kind, it remains the epicenter of the critics’ attention because it can run on a broad range of mobile devices (even those of lesser hardware), whereas Fortnite for example, doesn’t. This means that PUBG is spreading like wildfire, and its popularity amongst teenagers is rising quickly. However, not everyone sees this as a valid reason for the placement of restrictions.
#Rajkot Police bans popular #PubG game & #MomoChallenge.
Acc. to @GujaratPolice, it is leading to violent behaviour among youths and impacting their development. Anyone can file a complaint in the nearest police station againt people playing the game
Via @chiragpatel0055 pic.twitter.com/T4tieJY1LF
— Kumar Manish (@kumarmanish9) March 7, 2019
An Indian non-government organization called ‘Internet Freedom Foundation’ has published an ‘appeal’ post on their website, opposing the suggestions issued by the Gujarat and Delhi ‘Child and Adolescent Welfare’ bodies. The latter says that the game can have a negative impact on how the children use their time productively and undermine their academic performance. The IFF, on the other hand, bases its position on multiple scientific studies that indicate positive outcomes that derive from playing video games, even those that feature violence and explicit content. According to the findings of the cited studies, there’s a measurable improvement in hand-eye coordination and mental skill development for the children who play games, against those who don’t.
IFF believes that this should be a matter of discussion and parental caution, but in no way something to outlaw and confront as a threat to the public or the well-being of the society. Long story short, they see prohibitory orders that concern games an absolute and utter stretch that passes the wrong message to the youth. As they characteristically point out:
“As per press reports, seven youths ranging from the ages of 19 to 26 have been arrested for the breach of this prohibitory order. At this point we found ourselves bewildered and taken aback as this is seemingly a grave attack on personal liberty. We believe that concerns on online gaming are better handled with the care and affection of a parent and teachers. Certainly not by creating fear of penal law, through prohibitory orders issued by the police and subsequent arrests. This is not only abhorrent to sensibility but offends our core fundamental rights as it lacks rationality and the reasonableness necessary in any restriction imposed by the State.”
Do you believe that the local authorities in Gujarat are taking it too far, or do you see their action as justified? Tell us where you stand on the above in the comments section below, and don’t forget to check out our socials, on Facebook and Twitter, where more tech news are posted throughout the day.