India’s High Court in Madras wants the government to ban violent online gambling

India’s Madras High Court itself has initiated public interest litigation to demand that the central government take action to ban “violent online gambling”. The High Court is seeking responses from the Centre, the state government, Google and YouTube on the matter and called for awareness programs to be held in educational institutions. The High Court has disputed that there are unethical videos explaining to gamers how to install banned games like Free Fire using VPN apps.

Why Madras High Court Wants Video Games Banned

A divisional bench consisting of Justices R. Mahadevan and J. Sathya Narayana Prasad said online gaming addiction among male and female college students has become “a major public health issue and a major concern for parents.” The bench wants violent games to be banned in India.

The judges noted that those affected by video game addiction steal money to finance their game purchases and that there have also been cases of suicide due to video game addiction. With no regulatory authority present to regulate communication between players, “anti-social elements” gain access to players’ private accounts and steal personal data.

The judges cited Subway Surfers and Free Fire as examples of addictive games and noted that this leads to younger generations being affected by health issues, anxiety and depression. Several games have been banned by the Indian government over the past two years, including PUBG Mobile and Free Fire, and yet there are still ways to play the games, which the High Court disputed.

The judges observed that teenagers play online games and spend too much time on social networks and that this must be limited. They asked the police and social activists to raise awareness among young people and also asked parents to monitor their children’s online activity.

Central and state governments have been asked to indicate how banned games have been allowed despite the ban. And it also seeks to crack down on YouTube content that actively teaches gamers how to access these banned games. Currently, the central or state government has not yet offered a response to the judges and it is unclear whether any action will be taken against violent video games.

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