Online Gaming Ban: Madras High Court imposes suo motu to restrain life damaging online games – The Madras High Court on Thursday initiated a suo motu public interest litigation to regulate such games, expressing concern that the young generation is getting addicted to violent online games that lead to behavioral changes and cause health problems. The court sought responses from the Center, the Tamil Nadu government, and social media platforms.
A bench of Justice R Mahadevan and Justice J Sathya Narayana Prasad observed that online gaming addiction of male and female college students has become a major public health concern and a major concern of parents. Some students have died by suicide due to addiction to such online games.
Online Gaming Ban: Madras High Court imposes suo motu to restrain life damaging online games
“School children and college students are almost becoming addicted to such online role-playing games like Free Fire, Subway Surfers, and others. It has taken a heavy toll on their physical, emotional, psychological, social, and academic life. By such addiction, the younger generation becomes prey to ophthalmic issues, musculoskeletal issues, neck ailments, obesity, anxiety, and depression,” the judges said.
In 2020, the central government banned some online games and Chinese apps for security reasons. Despite the ban, such games were widely available on pirated websites that anyone could easily access, the judges noted.
“Thus, there is an emergent need to curb the menace of these types of online games. We should sensitize the youth and, more particularly, the students. The police and social activists have a definite role to play in this matter. Parents have a primary responsibility to watch what their children are doing with their smartphones and computers. Those who are playing online games must be given counseling and they should be made to uninstall the games,” the judges said.
The judges further observed that the Center and the state government should submit a clear report on how these types of online games, which have damaged the lives of the young generation, were allowed despite the ban imposed by the central government.
The judges, therefore, initiated a suo motu petition to direct the central government to effectively implement a ban on such types of online games and to conduct awareness programs in all schools and colleges about the impact of playing such online games. The lawsuit also sought to regulate YouTube channels that post unethical practices of tutorial videos to install pirated apps and to install banned games. The reason for the lawsuit was also to regulate the use of VPN applications.
The court initiated the suo motu action after recently coming across an HCP (habeas corpus petition) case where a girl had eloped with a man she met while playing one such online game.
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