March 14, 2019
(Reuters) – Police in the western Indian state of Gujarat detained 10 teenagers for breaking a newly announced ban on playing videogame “PUBG,” the forerunner of global smash “Fortnite,” officials said on Thursday.
The ban was announced last week by local authorities to combat what they called the spread of “violent traits” in kids playing PUBG and “Momo challenge,” a so-called suicide game.
The detained teenagers were taken into custody but later released with a warning, said Manoj Agrawal, police commissioner of Rajkot city in Gujarat.
“Due to these games, the education of children and youth are being affected and it affects the behaviour, manners, speech and development of the youth and children,” an order by local police dated March 6, said.
Police in Gujarat have not banned Fortnite, a popular rival to PUBG developed by U.S.-based Epic Games.
PUBG, or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, made by South Korean firm Bluehole Inc, is a survival-themed battle game that drops dozens of online players on an island to try and eliminate each other.
Asked in a public debate in January about the negative effects of videogames on kids, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “Was he playing PUBG? Like everything else, technology too comes with its positives and negatives”.
“As parents, we must guide our children to get the most from technology. We should encourage their curiosity to learn new things”.
Fortnite and PUBG, each backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent, are credited with helping take videogames to new audiences.
Bluehole and Epic Games did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka, Arjun Panchadar, Kanika Sikka and Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)