India: Court raises serious concerns on youth accessing banned video games, getting addicted

Raising serious concerns over the harsh impact of mobile video game addiction and its ramifications on the children and youth of the country, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court initiated a suo motu Public Interest Litigation to regulate such games. Responses of the Government of India, Government of Tamil Nadu and social media platforms were sought in this regard. 

Justices Mahadevan and Sathya Narayana Prasad mentioned how certain video games and mobile apps were widely available for use, despite the ban imposed on them (various apps and games of Chinese-origin). Specifically naming ‘PUBG’ and ‘GarenaFreeFire’, the judges said that it was causing addiction and having an adverse impact on the health of youngsters. They added that addiction to games led to youth quarrelling with their kin and even ending their own lives. 

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The PIL also referred to curbing YouTube channels and social media videos that offered tutorials that help bypass the restrictions and download the banned games. It was said that the use of VPN (Virtual Private Network) services should be regulated.

It was added that educational institutions must conduct awareness programmes to dissuade students from accessing and playing games that are banned by the government. Further, it was said that the progress of technology cannot be curbed, but youth have to use it responsibly and appropriately. The role of parents in guiding the children and monitoring their activities on phones and computers was also emphasized. 



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