India’s prime minister has an advice for PUBG addicts

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Player Unknowns Battlegrounds, PUBG, is a popular videogame that has children addicted across the world. However, the violent character of the game has been a huge point of debate.

Introduced in early 2018, PUBG Mobile has become a pop culture phenomenon. The game had hit 200 million downloads mark in December last year.

The concern has now been escalated to the highest level in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a jibe at the online multiplayer battle game developed and published by PUBG Corporation, a subsidiary of South Korean video game company Bluehole, funded by Chinese technology investor, Tencent.

Speaking to children and parents on a scheduled annual conversation-- called Parisksha pe charcha or discussion over exams-- preceding the exam season in India, PM Modi had words of caution. “We need to ask ourselves — is technology turning children into robots or making them more human?” Modi said.

The prime minister’s rhetoric was in response to a question from the mother of a ninth grader. Madhumita Sen Gupta from Assam, who lives in Delhi, said, “Earlier he (son) was good in studies but now he is too distracted by online games.” The reference to PUBG was one that the prime minister initiated.

“I hold technology in very high regard. But every thing has two sides,” the PM said, adding, “If technology is narrowing us and our thoughts, it will be a big setback. Technology should expand our horizons. To laugh and play in open grounds is very important.”

He had advice for the parents too, “Parents and teachers must take interest in the evolution of technology and ask children. It will make children feel comfortable in seeking help.”

PUBG was banned in China in December 2018. And in India, education institutes have already started to take steps to stop children from playing the game. Vellore Institute of Technology, primary schools in Gujarat are some examples.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has also reportedly recommended a ban on the game across the country.

With the latest caution coming from none other than the prime minister himself, should PUBG expect a crackdown in India too?
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