UAE parents call for ban on PUBG game
Dubai - PUBG (PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds), is a multiplayer survival battle game developed by a South Korean firm.
By Sarwat Nasir
Published: Sun 7 Apr 2019, 12:00 AM
Last updated: Sun 7 Apr 2019, 10:31 PM
UAE parents are calling for a ban on the online game PUBG as it is deemed a "bad influence on youth" due to its "violent content and addictive nature".
PUBG (PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds), a multiplayer survival battle game developed by a South Korean firm, has already been banned in cities across Gujarat, India. Nearly 10 students were arrested for playing the game even after the ban.
Recently, a father in India called for a nationwide ban on the game as he claimed that his teen son committed suicide when he was asked not to play the game. In the Philippines, the mayor of the Biliran Island has warned that government employees will be fired if they're caught playing the game.
The game has become 'very accessible' since it was released in 2017, be it on consoles, PCs or smartphones.
A parent in Dubai, Gulnaz Arif Moula, told Khaleej Times: "PUBG should surely be banned as it has a negative effect on the children's mind. It makes them very aggressive. Kids have taken this game so seriously that nothing else seems to matter to them - not even studying. They care only about winning in this game."
Another parent, Mueena Farooq Rumane, said: "I strongly feel PUBG should be banned.
Games like PUBG and Fortnite are destructive games and these have a very bad psychological effect not just on kids, but adults as well. It's an addiction just like drugs, smoking and drinking. It plays with the mind and they face strong behavioural changes.
"With the recent New Zealand mosque attack, it didn't surprise me when I read the response of the attacker and how games like Spyro Dragon and Fortnite trained him to be a killer."
Meanwhile, another parent, Bibi Usaima, said her children spend majority of their time playing PUBG.
"They can no longer concentrate on schoolwork. They're fully occupied with these addictive games and they are always on their laptops or iPads - no more outdoor activities," she said.
"It's not suitable for kids below 10 years old. My seven-year-old boy plays with 18-year-old guys. It's getting on my nerves, my kids have become aggressive and whenever I tell to stop, they start arguing. I want it to be banned all over and forever."
Report violent games to get them banned
In the past, the UAE has taken a strong stance when it comes to protecting youth against violent and dangerous games. Authorities banned online games Roblox, Mariam, Blue Whale and many others last year.
Now, the Telecommunications and Regulatory Authority (TRA) is encouraging parents to step forward and report games that they feel are dangerous for the youth.
In a statement regarding online games, the TRA told Khaleej Times: "The TRA has issued the Internet Access Regulation in the UAE, which includes a number of prohibited content categories that allow operators to take the necessary measures against any violation or complaint in this regard. At the TRA, we count on the cooperation of individuals in reporting such sites, games or accounts, and consider them our partners in disclosing them and taking the necessary action against them.
"Concerning games in particular, the TRA believes that the parents' role is essential in reporting any game that they believe is dangerous to the youth. They can report it to competent security authorities, telecom operators or the TRA. We assure that our communication channels with the public are open round the clock."
- Waheed Abbas
Pro-PUBG resident responds
Dennis Nolan Menezes runs the Facebook page called PUBG UAE Community. There are more than 500 likes on this page and includes players from the UAE.
Speaking on the ban, Menezes told Khaleej Times: "There are multiple studies which show that kids have a good enough understanding of the difference between games and reality.
There is a minuscule number of kids who are mentally unstable that might be used as a case for rallying against these games. In that case, movies showing violence, disputes between spouses at home, and many other instances of violence should be banned.
"Actually such games help kids vent out little frustrations they may be having arising from daily life, thus calming them down. It helps them relax. News reporting of wars in video format is also unsafe and so on and so forth. And banning does nothing at all in reducing exposure. Kids and everyone else always find ways to circumvent bans - it's useless.
"Instead, it would be better to help them understand their feelings and show them ways to voice it out or get to terms with themselves. They need to learn how to cope with stress. The Happiness and Life Curriculum is a good start for schools."