Teens are getting arrested for playing PUBG in India
- The Tencent-backed PlayUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) has been banned in certain cities across India for being too addictive.
- The ban has resulted in the arrest of 10 people in the western state of Gujarat.
- But if addiction is really the problem — the World Health Organisation (WHO) says that these teens need treatment, not jail.
Police in Rajkot, a city in the western state of Gujarat, arrested 10 people — six of whom were undergraduate students — for playing the game within the last two days. The Police Commissioner justified the strict action stating that it’s only a bailable offence.
"But it is a bailable offence. People have been booked but there is nothing like arrest in it. In the procedure, they will be shown as immediately bailed out by police. The case will go to the courts and there will be a trial for not following the notification issued."
The teens were booked under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) Section 188 and under Section 35 of the Gujarat Police Act for violating the notification issued by the Police Commission on March 6 that banned the PUBG mobile game.
Gaming addiction is not illegal — it’s a disorder
The SOG police inspection in Rajkot, Rohit Raval, said, “This game is highly addictive and the accused were so engrossed in playing them that they could not even notice our team approaching them.”
And, if teens are really so addicted to the game, then they need treatment — not jail.
Being addicted to gaming has officially been recognized as a disorder by the World Health Organization (WHO). But, they also clarify that the inclusion of the gaming disorder in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) follows the development of treatment programmes — not putting people in jail.
"Gaming behavior characterized 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 occurrence of negative consequences."
Compulsive video gaming may be a new and modern day psychological disorder but it's still a health issue — not a crime.
Video games are increasingly coming into the mainstream with the advent of casual gaming and internet penetration growing in India. PUBG is only one of the many games out there and there will surely be more — banning each one individually isn’t practical for users or for the authorities.
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