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Thank goodness for the PUBG ban

PUBG (Player Unknown's Battle Grounds) is the multi-player game that's become a rage throughout India. From a vegetable vendor to kids to office execs, everyone is hooked to it. Thanks to the government, it is one of the many Chinese apps that got banned yesterday.

Just why it is harmful

If you'd witnessed anyone playing it like I did, you'd know just how stressful the game is. You think you're de-stressing but your adrenaline is pumping, you're not taking your eyes off the iPad for 30-45 minutes at a stretch, your posture is poor and if you're wearing earphones, it's awful for your hearing as well. Not only that, the time wasted on this most addictive of games means you've probably shirked some responsibility that you would have otherwise made time for. I'm witness to hours spent on watching training videos that should have ideally been dedicated to school work.

According to some mental health experts, playing violent video games tends to compound aggressive behaviour and social isolation, especially in the case of adolescents. I know from first hand experience that setting screen-time limits do not get taken seriously. My daughter would rather go hungry than leave a game unfinished. And my husband confesses, "After I've been playing for a while and then go down for a walk, I instinctively want to reach for a gun upon spotting someone on a rooftop. It's a reflex action." Addiction to video games over a prolonged period of time can cause other serious conditions like nerve or sleep disorders, or even cause obesity due to lack of exercise.

Compromised online safety

Kids are more susceptible to coming in contact with strangers via online games, and can pick up foul words. If the parents are vigilant, they'll have them within earshot but who's to say that is possible all the time? Plus, the government itself has banned the app on the possibility of unfair data harvesting practices compromising state security.

Sad but true

This year, many instances have been reported in the news, from a kid in Punjab blowing up Rs 16 lakhs on in-app purchases to more shocking news of a man in Ravet dying because of a heart attack after having played continuously, and of another unemployed addict having committed suicide in Delhi recently. The game ought to come with a warning that says 'Play Responsibly' or should switch off on its own after a certain time. For now the ban is only on PUBG Mobile/Lite versions but I hope, in the coming few days, we'll be able to say farewell and good riddance to it entirely.

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