Written by Gagandeep Singh Dhillon | Shimla | Published: June 11, 2020 12:32:57 am
PUBG is an online multiplayer game available on various platforms
Two days before she hanged herself to death inside her house in Mehli, 33-year-old Jaspreet Kaur wrote a lengthy post on a social media forum blaming her husband for neglecting their five-year-old daughter and playing PUBG all day long, among other allegations.
“…wo daughter ko bhi nahi poochhta… khud sara din PUBG khelta hai… usko sirf apney se matlab hai (he’s only concerned with himself and does not even bother about our daughter… plays PUBG all day long),” she wrote in the Facebook group New Moms Club on May 31.
She was found dead on June 2, and her husband was arrested for abetting her suicide. According to her mother’s statement in the FIR, Kaur called her on the evening of May 31 and told her she was being “tortured for every petty thing”. “Today, I took out a new pencil and gave it to Gunnu (her daughter), which caused so much agitation. He was boiling with anger and threw down several things in the kitchen,” she has been quoted as telling her mother.
“For the past few months since the lockdown began, he had been playing PUBG for as long as 10 hours a day. It clearly caused him mental stress. There had always been trouble between them, and now he was snapping at my sister over trivial things,” Kaur’s brother Jasmeet Singh, a digital content executive in Chandigarh, told the Indian Express.
All in the game
In an email to the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in April, Singapore-based Proxima Beta Pte. Limited, the developer of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or PUBG Mobile, said that it will be implementing measures such as reducing game time and introducing OTP-based restrictions for minor users by this month.
The company was responding to a petition by Advocate HC Arora, a Chandigarh-based activist, who had approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking a ban on the game arguing that PUBG was as addictive as drugs, promoting violence among users and affecting them mentally. The court referred the matter to the Union ministry, before which it is currently pending.
In its reply to the ministry, the company argued that PUBG Mobile is an online multiplayer game that connects players from around the world and “tests their skills, strategy and teamwork”. From a regulatory perspective, it’s an intermediary that allows users to interact with each other without any interference, and scholars at leading global universities “have criticised equating substance abuse disorders with problematic gaming behaviour”. Excessive gaming is related to pre-existing mental health issues, it argued, and games such as PUBG promote social skills as they involve groups of players playing together.
To address potential concerns, the developers have introduced a ‘health reminder’ notification in the game and are in the process of implementing time regulations for minor users, which will restrict their maximum playing time in a day to five hours and include a compulsory 1-hour break at the 3rd hour. An OTP-based parental consent requirement for a minor to continue playing the game after three hours of game-time is also in the works, the developer said.
Arora said that in his rebuttal to be submitted this week, he will recommend implementing the “China model” of gaming here. Video gamers under 18 in China are forbidden to play between 10 pm and 8 am, and have separate weekday and weekend limits of playing time.
PUBG is an online multiplayer game available on various platforms including Windows and Android in which a number of players fight it out using various weapons for a last-person-standing survival in a shrinking battlefield.
In 2018, the WHO included Gaming Disorder in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), defining it as a pattern of digital or video-gaming behaviour characterised by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurence of negative consequences.
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