Madras High Court initiates suo motu proceedings to curb online gambling

Students become addicted to online games leading to conflict at home, court told

Students become addicted to online games leading to conflict at home, court told

Taking note of the fact that youngsters are becoming addicted to explicit and violent online games leading to serious health issues, Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Thursday initiated suo motu proceedings to combat the threat of such games.

A divisive bench of Justices R. Mahadevan and J. Sathya Narayana Prasad requested the response from central and state governments, as well as Google and YouTube.

The court observed that the Center had banned some Chinese online apps and games for security reasons in 2020. However, the games were widely available and easily accessible.

School and college students become addicted to these games, leading to conflicts at home with siblings and parents. Some children go so far as to steal money from their parents in order to improve the game and some of them have also died by suicide due to an addiction to these games, the court observed.

There was no regulatory authority for calls and messages sent through these online games. Anti-social elements could easily log on through such games, access a person’s private accounts, steal personal data and threaten the person, the court said.

“The future of our nation is in the hands of the younger generation. They are the backbone of the development of our country in all areas, for which they must be physically, psychologically, economically and socially fit. But, by wasting their precious teen by playing such online games, watching filth, chatting and sticking to social media, they deviate from productive means like academics and wholesome hobbies, they thus put their future at stake, therefore, the development of our country is affected as a whole,” the judges observed, adding that there was an emerging need to reduce the threat of these types of online games.

The Center and the State must present a clear report on how these online games are authorized despite the ban imposed by the government, the court said and asked for a response regarding the regulation of the use of the application VPN and the regulation of YouTube channels. Videos on how to install pirated apps and banned games were uploaded, the court observed.

The court also requested a response from the central government regarding taking measures for effective implementation of the gambling ban and creating awareness programs in all schools and colleges regarding the impact of playing games in line as violent. The court adjourned the hearing in the case until October 27.

(Assistance for those with suicidal thoughts is available on the TN 104 health helpline and the Sneha suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050).

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