Three cities in India have decided to ban the use of PUBG Mobile due to concerns over children's welfare. The districts of Rajkot, Bhavnagar, and Gir Somnath have all prohibited the use of the mobile game because the home ministry believes it promotes violence and is addictive, leading to antisocial behavior and poor school performance in youth.
The ban will be enforced under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, which categorizes the offense as an "obstruction, annoyance, or injury." This type of offense can carry prison time of up to a month, although police have said only those who refuse to cooperate will be detained.
Public outcry against PUBG Mobile has actually been rising in India along with growing concerns over video game addiction. A minister described the game as a "demon" after an 11-year-old wrote a letter to him and six other ministers asking for PUBG Mobile to be banned. In his letter, the boy linked the game to violence, aggression, addiction, and cyberbullying, a sentiment that many parents in India also share.
Even mental health professionals have encouraged PUBG Mobile bans. The Times of India reported that government bans came after psychologists declared the game "dangerous for youth," saying that the game caused players to isolate themselves in order to feed their addictions.
Whether these fears are well-founded is another matter entirely. While it's certainly true that games can be addicting and some players take it too far, there is not much in the way of statistics to back up claims that players are acting out violently or cutting themselves off from society.
Another thing that sheds some doubt on the credibility of these claims is the fact that the districts have also banned the Momo challenge, a well-known internet hoax making a blast from the past. Falling for fake news from 2016 is not a great way to prove that you know everything about the internet, technology, or what the kids are doing.
As of now, the PUBG team has said that it is trying "to foster a healthy and balanced in-game environment" and wants to "be a responsible member of the gaming ecosystem." Hopefully, this means it will be doing some PR in India to set the record straight and get PUBG Mobile back in the hands of players in these districts.