By Sarthak Yadav
Most readers here must have encountered PUBG Mobile in one way or the other – be it playing it themselves, or seeing their peers engrossed in their mobile phones, shouting “Enemy, due East, 105”.
Most would also know online gaming being termed as a menace by parents across the nation, for countless reasons.
The debate arose when Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked a concerned mother, whose son is addicted to the game, “Ye PUBG wala hai kya?”
PUBG Mobile is banned in Gujarat schools and Vellore Institute of Technology hostels, following which a student body in J&K asked for governmental intervention to ban the “menace”, blaming it for poor results in examinations.
Quite recently, an 18-year-old from Mumbai committed suicide after his parents didn’t get him a mobile phone that was good enough to run PUBG on it.
On the other hand, Ahad Nizam, an 11-year-old from Maharashtra, wrote to the State Government to ban the game, and then sought the Bombay High Court after not receiving a response, stating “it promotes immoral conduct such as violence, murder, aggression, looting, gaming addiction and cyberbullying”.
Addiction and Cyber-Bullying?
Now, talk of the Government seeking to ban the game has stemmed from within the youth itself. What do parents and 11-year-old Maharashtrian boys usually have an issue with, with regard to PUBG and online gaming? Addictiveness, cyberbullying, and negative psychological impact.
I’ve been playing video games since I was 6, and have been in continuous online interaction with the gaming community for 9 years, starting with the golden old days of Counter Strike and Halo.
Sure, even if I submit to the argument that people can be toxic, there’s a very easy way to escape, much easier than if that toxicity existed in real life. The gaming community is constantly evolving and increasing in numbers on an exponential rate, and yes, there have been cases of cyberbullying.
But instead of instructing their kids not to play the game altogether, parents should take it as an opportunity to teach them the difference between right and wrong, and the importance of company in real life as well as that online, and how to avoid toxic people.
Again, I agree that PUBG, and online gaming in general, can be addictive, to the extent that some people spend almost one-fourth of their day in this activity.
However, on a very basic level, it all boils down to personal choice, according to me. Blaming PUBG for poor academic performance isn’t the right way to go forward about this.
When a person spends 4-6 hours on this game, it’s due to his or her own will. They could’ve stopped after one game, or could have not played it at all, but they chose to place PUBG over their academics and sleep, didn’t they?
People ranked Ace (the highest rank in PUBG) do well in their day-to-day life and career, too. If kids find it very hard to reduce their on-screen time, parents step in and put up restrictions, that’s how it has always worked, and it seems to be doing well so far.
I see kids stepping out with a cricket bat and ball to play in the park to this very day, an example of how parents make their children realize the importance of being physically fit. Addiction is a high possibility, but it’s very easily preventable on a personal level.
Negative Psychological Impact?
Regarding the game having negative psychological impacts on a child’s mind, there’s no way to know how a game could affect the mind of a child, as opinions and perceptions vary from person to person.
If our nation was to run on suggestions from an 11-year-old, suggestions that stem from his understanding of the world around him, quite frankly, we would’ve been a failed state by now.
Also, I don’t think the government would move to ban the game, as that would put it in negative light, being autocratic, and with the upcoming elections, that isn’t a suitable option for them.
Banning would be ineffective in itself, too, as people would find a way to continue. A viable solution to this would be to put age restrictions, say, 13-15 years being the minimum age requirement.
Of course, certain kids would try to bypass this by hook or by crook, but it would have an overall positive effect in my opinion.
ESRB, the governing body for video game ratings, rates games much like how movies are rated, and if parents do get their teen/pre-teen kids games like God of War and GTA, that’s their fault, as these titles have been rated 18+ and not meant for children in the first place.
If we talk about PUBG, it’s up to the parents how they perceive it, as a potential lesson waiting to be taught, or as a menace.
Gaming has been a very important part of my childhood, and I think parting with something this big is impossible for anyone. I still play Need For Speed: Most Wanted, a game that was released nearly 14 years ago, with a very simple reason – it’s fun, enjoyable, and nostalgic.
If you ask a person who is in the age range of 18-30 about his or her childhood and teenage, there’s a high probability that games would be mentioned in their response, just as something like going out in the street to play cricket would be, too.
Why do I play PUBG, or any other online game, with my friends? One, it’s a very effective stress-buster, as we’ve seen of late that stress and anxiety has become an increasingly common issue in the youth.
Two, because I get to interact with my friends, across India. Those 2 hours spend on PUBG is time spent rightly, with us, who’ve been friends for over 4 years, getting to reminisce and talk about our lives, being connected even though we’re in universities in different corners of the country, while getting chicken dinners and having fun.
For us, it’s hard to see why someone would consider the apparent negative sides so much more than the positives we get out of it.
What do you, the reader, think? Is PUBG, and online gaming
as a whole, boon or bane? Should the government ban the game? If not, what
alternative would you present?
Image Credits: Google Images