PUBG was recently banned in Pakistan by the PTA because of its potential adverse effects on youth. The temporary ban was imposed after two teenagers decided to commit suicide during the game. But that, unfortunately, was not the end of the bad news, as another teenager also ended his life when he was not allowed to play PUBG.
After these extremely unfortunate incidents, the PTA announced that PUBG was being temporarily banned in Pakistan.
Reaction from the PUBG community
It’s no secret, PUBG has been incredibly popular since its launch, so much so that it even received specific servers from Pakistan. It goes without saying that the fans were absolutely livid with the extreme and somewhat unnecessary step. And the PUBG community expressed their views, with the hashtag “unbanPUBG” on Twitter and people saying “games are not a crime”.
Does the ban make sense?
According to the PTA, PUBG is addictive, a waste of time and has a negative impact on children’s physical and psychological health. But, according to Google Playstore, PUBG is classified as a game aged 16 or over, it is not meant to be played by children in the first place. And therein lies the main question. Should children under the age of 16 have parental permission to play?
Another point raised by the PTA was addiction, if teenagers are addicted to the game, the burden of their actions and behavior falls mainly on their parents, not on the game developer or the government. If someone is very absorbed in any form of entertainment, whether it is playing games, watching movies or social media, is it better to be a parent properly or to ban this form of entertainment altogether?
People can easily find other PUBG-like games in minutes, as the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store are filled with extremely popular alternatives to PUBG. But when it comes to those who want to play PUBG professionally and represent Pakistan on the international PUBG space, their progress will only be inhibited and their talents diminished and suppressed.
It’s not the first time that happens. We had a similar situation before, when YouTube was banned in Pakistan for several years. This extreme action resulted only in the slow career of Pakistani Youtubers and people ended up using VPNs to get around the block anyway, and now PUBG players will do the same. Regressive decisions like that only delay us for years.
Where does that stop?
Most forms of international media can, in some way, have a negative impact on psychological health or, at the very least, can be subjectively considered a waste of time or addictive. Most video games are violent, most movies and TV shows can also be added to the list, but banning all forms of international media is not the solution. Better supervision of children is the answer.
Does gambling have negative psychological effects?
A debate as old as time, but somehow still divisive today. In short, there is evidence to prove that gambling is never the crux of violence, it is always an accessory to pre-existing mental conditions. Some people, due to their idiosyncratic situation in life, have a predisposition to be malleable by the media and easily become victims of addictive habits.
Violent video game consumption and related violent incidents are a uniquely American problem, probably mainly due to cultural issues. Therefore, there is no statistical evidence that conclusively shows that games incite negative or harmful psychological changes.
PUBG is enjoyed by millions of players around the world. If our children are becoming addicted to the game and being victims of its adverse effects, the solution is not to ban it completely. This not only deprives professional players of their potential income and career, but also leads casual players to look for alternatives. What do you mean they don’t find and are addicted to other action games?
Instead, we must ensure that children under the age of 16 are prevented from playing the game completely and adolescents aged 16 and over are strictly monitored or taught to inhibit their impulses by their parents / guardians.
Prohibiting anything is not the solution, because people will find alternative solutions, if they want to spread awareness about how to consume entertainment is a much better alternative.
Disclaimer – I am not affiliated with PUBG in any way, I do not play or follow it.