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Nepal bans PUBG citing addiction in children; Indian states’ ban factored in

children, online, privacy, games

Nepal banned mobile game PUBG yesterday saying that its violent content had a negative impact on children, reports Reuters. The ban was placed because it is “addictive to children and teenagers” according to Sandip Adhikari, deputy director of Nepal Telecommunications Authority, the country’s telecom regulator. It has directed all internet service providers, mobile operators, and network service providers – all intermediaries – to block “streaming of the game” starting Thursday. According to a report in Nepal daily the Himalayan Times, the game’s ban in some Indian states was factored in before recommending the ban to the NTA.

Who recommended the ban in Nepal?

According to Reuters, the ban came at the request of a federal investigation authority. However, the Himalayan Times reports that the ban came at the recommendation of the Teku Metropolitan Police Crime Division, which received complaints from schools and parents in the last few months.The MPCD carried out a study on the ill effects of the game (and also considering the ban in Indian states), and got a go-ahead from the Kathmandu District Court before recommending the ban. MediaNama is unable to independently verify who recommended the ban.

Ban and arrests in Gujarat, India

In India, PUBG was banned over the last month in several areas of Gujarat – Ahmedabad (lifted later), Rajkot, Surat, Bhavnagar, Gir Somnath, Panchmahal, and is banned in all Gujarat state schools. The bans were imposed because the game was addictive and supposedly leading to violence in children and teenagers. The Gujarat police last month arrested another eight people in Ahmedabad and Himmatnagar areas. The Rajkot police had also arrested 10 people for playing the game, and booked them for violating a government order. The Rajkot city police has also included, in its PUBG ban order, a prohibitory order under Section 144 order under the CrPC which disallows assembly of more than four people in an area.

PUBG’s action: PUBG had meanwhile had introduced a time limit for gameplay, introducing a “health reminder” which popped up after 6 hours of gameplay. A subsequent reminder also asked users about whether they’re below 18 years of age.

Meanwhile, a Hyderabad-based activist Vijay Gopal from Forum Against Corruption had also sought a ban against the game from the NCPCR and MeitY. In February, an 11-year old boy petitioned the Bombay High Court seeking a ban on PUBG in all Maharashtra schools, stating that the game promoted violence, murder, aggression, looting, leading to game addiction and cyber bullying.

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