Since 2017, an online battle royal game by the name Players PUBG has been available in India which is a type of a video game in which a large number of players, starting with minimal equipment, search for weapons and armor and eliminate and knockout all other opponents while avoiding being trapped outside of a shrinking safe area with the winner being the last competitor in the game.
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic announced its arrival, the younger generation is glued to it as also other online games. Greater depths of focus are needed which elucidates the kind of threat the game presents to society. Real-world penalties in these games include a reduction in social life and the wrath of the player’s families.
While PUBG is not substantially different from other shooter games, a category that’s been popular with online gamers for over quite some time, it takes lot of concentration as teamwork is needed.
Parents are worried on many counts about PUBG and among others it related to violence involved and behavioral changes as a consequence. They are also worried, truly so, that there is excessive screen time with learning impairment and behavioral issues in children.
Amid the situation, there was a Public Interest Litigation filed in Jammu and Kashmir, seeking a ban on it because of its ill-effects on the studies of the students. The petitioners had contended that the game was main reason for poor results in the 10th and 12th examinations conducted after the popular game was introduced in J&K. They said the students and youth seem to be “addicted” to play it. They also argued that in a “docile and fragile conditions” as exist in Jammu and Kashmir, the indulgence of youth in online video games which are based on blood and violence along-with free and mindless use of arms including highly sophisticated armor and artillery creates wrong precedence and breeds violent thoughts and criminal behavior in young minds.”
Those who support its continuation argue that the Constitution assures citizens the right to communicate with others, even through a video game.
While fears of violent games having social consequences are not misplaced, the government should initiate a social advocacy programme against their use. It would be wrong if people are punished for playing a video game as it would lend support to those contending that it affects privacy and freedoms.
Authorities also need to form an online ethics review committee to monitor the entertainment software content from time to time in this context.