It’s been about a week since the Government of Nepal imposed a ban on the First Person Shooting Battle Royale game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (popular as PUBG). The reasons cited were:
- The game is addictive.
- It is violent.
- It affected the grade of students.
- It lowered creativity.
The number of complaints that parents and teachers registered was the trigger behind the restriction.
Some reactions that I saw are:
“Excellent! Such violent games should be banned.”
“Good! Our children will focus on studies now.”
“The government encroached our freedom!”
“I had not played once before the ban!”
“As long as VPN is available, no worries!
Now, let me analyse the cause and effect.
#1 The game
As it is an FPS survival game, PUBG is inherently violent. However, this is not the first violent game. In fact, I have seen that most popular video games are violent. And they have been around us in silence for decades.
So, what exposed PUBG? I believe it’s the interactive mode. It can be played solo, or as a squad of two or four. In most cases, you need to move together. Communication is important. The words “kill”, “help”, “fight”, “guns”, “bombs”, and so on are going to attract the people around you. If you are a teenager and if your parents hear this, they might believe you are involved in something unpleasant or that the game is promoting violence.
Another problem the game has is that it is for teens. However, the nature of the game and online interaction be difficult even for adults. There is high chance of cyber bullying and it may be disturbing for some. But teens (and even pre-teens) play mature games (which have not been banned) all the time.
#2 Parents and Children
I see problem in our parenting. At the age of two, when a child does not want to eat food, they are shown YouTube videos. Soon they get addicted. By the age of three, the child starts scrolling the “smartphones”. When they reach four, they become aggressive when they don’t get the phones. They also start playing games and get furious when the parents don’t want them to play.
Though most teenagers today have not come through the path, they are naturally curious and are also dependent on peers in making decision. If someone says, this game is nice, they decide it is nice. As these teenagers also have access to smartphones (parents buy phones for them to meet their obstinate demands), they soon get addicted. Notion is that a child should stay at home. If a child does not go out, all is well! However, parents seldom take care of what their children do at home with phones and computers at their hands.
Parents themselves are also ignorant of the effects of social media and long hours of gaming on their children. So, they don’t talk with their children. They try to impose a restriction without proper reasoning. That’s counterproductive as restriction evokes curiosity.
#3 Government and the limitation of restriction
The government did what parents wanted and imposed a ban on the game. They recognized the problem but without understanding the limitation of the restriction.
As said earlier, there are numerous interactive, survival, strategy games available on and off the internet. Internet is the modern Hydra. You cut a head, another takes its place. Today PUBG created problem, tomorrow some other game will. How many games will government shut down?
Not just games, social media could also be behind poor performances and violent inclinations. Will the government ban social media. If there is enough complaints, there is a possibility that they will be banned.
Until then, let me enjoy my freedom!