“These online games have become popular among young people especially, school children and students. Since Free Fire Game consists of more violent activities, there is a drastic change in the behavior of children or the person who play said game,” the court said.
Stating that addiction to violent online games among school children, students and women has become a major public health problem and a big concern for parents, Madurai Bench of Madras High Court has launched a suo motu public interest written petition to reduce the threat of these games.
The Madras High Court named the Union Government, Tamil Nadu Government, YouTube and Google as parties to the proceedings.
The court was hearing a habeas corpus petition regarding a missing girl who was found to be addicted to playing an online mobile game called “Free Fire”.
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A division of Justices R Mahadevan and J Sathya Narayana Prasad said: “In 2020, the central government, for security reasons, banned some Chinese online games and applications and removed them from the Play Store and Apple Store .”
“After the ban, these game companies revised their privacy policies and security policies and again entered the official game stores in 2021. These online games have become popular among young people, especially school children. and students. Since Free Fire Game consists of more violent activities, there is a drastic change in the behavior of children or the person playing said game,” they added.
Lawyers who were present in court produced documents regarding the game Free Fire and other online games and argued that today online games such as PUBG, Garena Free Fire, Call of duty, etc. , are famous among children and young people and most of the games are Chinese games.
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The judges observed: “Online game addiction among school children, students and women has become a major public health problem and a major concern for parents. Kids who are about to go to school and college students have almost become addicted to online role playing games such as Free Fire, Subway Surfers, etc. academic life. Through such addiction, the younger generation is falling prey to ophthalmic problems, musculoskeletal problems, neck aches, obesity, anxiety and depression.
“Thus, there is an emerging need to reduce the threat of these types of online games. There is a need to educate young people and especially students. The police and social activists have a definite role to play in this matter. Parents have the primary responsibility to monitor what their children do with their smartphones and computers.Those who play online games should be given guidance and be required to uninstall the games,” the judges said.
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Further, they stated, “In our view, the state, as well as central governments, must present a clear report on how these types of online games that harm the lives of younger generations are permitted despite the prohibition. imposed by the Indian government. We are therefore of the view that the Constitutional Court has a responsibility to take up the matter in the broader public interest. We therefore request the Registrar (Judicial) to register a Public Interest Petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. »
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