While rumour has it that PUBG Mobile and 275 apps could meet the same fate as TikTok in India, parents and kids tell us what they think.
The fan base of Players Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) is vast and varied. Kids, teenagers, working professionals, homemakers, spend between two to six hours playing this mobile game. After the government banned TikTok and other Chinese apps, rumour has it that PUBG Mobile with 275 apps could meet the same fate.
While parents are elated by the idea of a ban, the younger generation are continuing to play aggressively. Class-11 student Priyansh Bisht from Civil Lines spends three-four hours playing the game every day. “But I will not feel bad if it is banned. I will look for some other options.”
His mother Deepa Bisht is strictly against the game. “Priyansh just passed Class 10 with 93 per cent and was given a mobile phone on one condition that he will not download PUBG in it.
He is not allowed to play it at home, but he might be playing it on his friends’ phones. I have seen kids becoming aggressive and losing their mind if they are stopped from playing.” Several instances of teenagers in India dying because of the game has given parents a valid reason to worry.
In July, a boy committed suicide after his mother stopped him from playing PUBG. Deepa adds, “I don’t know what happens to the kids .They become so ill-behaved. I have observed that the game controls the mind. Kids are so engrossed in it that they don’t listen to their elders. I will be extremely happy if it is banned.”
Rani Bagh resident Astha Sharma, a housewife and a mother of a four-year-old, plays PUBG for one-two hours when she is stressed. “There is a lot of fighting involved, but the positive point is you can play the game with friends and also make new friends. I am addicted to it, I don’t want the game to get banned, but it’s not like I am ‘dying’ for it. However, I would say it has a bad impact on kids.
I have even seen kids who tell their parents to buy them royal passes of the game as their pocket money.”
Delhi-based travel consultant Kanav Sharma, plays 6-7 games a day because “there’s not much work to do in lockdown”, but feels school kids take PUBG very seriously. “Royal Pass worth `800 is a feature that kids are attracted to for its virtual clothes and guns. I read a recent news article where a kid from Punjab stole Rs 16 lakh to spend on the game.”
PUBG has decided to implement a digital lock for users under 13 years. Players under 13 will have to ask their guardians or parents to open the game for them.
“But kids play with fake accounts and different ids,” Kanav points to the loophole. Dr Preeti Singh, Senior Consultant, Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram, says, “We are not able to differentiate between a gaming enthusiast and a gaming addict. Interestingly, I have only come across boys having this issue. This affects their sleep, academics and social life.
In severe cases, one needs the support of a psychiatrist and clinical psychologist.”
Sudha Jha of Ghaziabad made her son leave the game with repetitive efforts. “We gave him a mobile when he got into college, but soon realised that he was playing the game for 3-4 hours. This time frame increased in the lockdown. I feel that the government should ban all such apps that affect the mindset of people.” Delhi-based journalist Vivek Dubey has been playing PUBG since 2018.
“I used play it for 4-5 hours a day, but now reduced it to 2-3 hours a week. If the government decides to ban the game, there’s nothing anyone can do. Has the government ever asked for suggestions before doing anything in the past? PUBG helped people get over the lockdown depression and kept them busy with their gang.”