Jan. 30, 2019

During Pariksha Par Charcha 2.0, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was told by a concerned mother that her son was addicted to online games such as PUBG, and was neglecting his studies. 


  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds — or PUBG — is an online multiplayer battle royale game in which 100 players jump on to a battlefield of their choice and try to collect supplies and ammunition that would help them survive. 

  • The game, owned by China’s Tencent Holdings, is available on gaming consoles like Xbox and on personal computers, besides mobile. The game is hugely popular and has 200 million daily active users worldwide. 

What is online gaming addiction? 

  • WHO has defined Gaming disorder as a pattern of gaming behavior (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by increasing priority given to gaming over other daily activities, and continuation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences. 

Cause for addiction: 

  • The widespread use of smartphones, affordable data packages and particularly free-to-play online games have played a key role in boosting the popularity of online video games. 

  • Video game designers, who are trying to make a profit, are always looking for ways to get more people playing their games. They accomplish this by making a game just challenging enough to keep you coming back for more but not so hard that the player eventually gives up. 

  • Some of it may be other mental health issues like Video games acting as the only affordable release at the end of a long workday or for depression. Other mental health problems, like anxiety, could play a role too. 

  • It also could be genetic. Some people just experience fewer temptations, or have more willpower, than others. 

  • A person’s environment could play a role too. Perhaps someone will be forced to move to a place where she doesn’t have friends, family, or previous hobbies, so games will quickly become the only thing that gives him/her joy. 


  • Studies suggest that gaming disorder affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities. 

  • However, for people indulging in gaming addiction can result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational or occupational areas. 

  • Gaming disorder can lead to disturbed sleep patterns, diet problems and deficiency in physical activities. 

  • These games can also be very time-consuming, leaving addicted gamers with less time to focus on their education or career. 


  • People who partake in gaming should be alert to the amount of time they spend on gaming activities, particularly when it is to the exclusion of other daily activities. 

  • Steps taken @ Global Level: To bring attention of health professionals to its risks. 
    • WHO included Gaming disorder in the 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) in June 2018 and 

    • American Psychiatric Association (APA) has added “internet gaming disorder” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). 

  • Steps taken @ Government Level:
    • In 2011, the South Korean government implemented the Cinderella Law, which prohibits children under the age of 16 from playing online video games between the hours of 12 am to 6 am. However, the law was later amended. 

    • Gujarat state government has initiated steps to educate young students on the bad effects of playing PUBG and sought the Centre’s permission to ban it altogether.