Online gaming is turning into an addiction these days. According to recent studies, 6 to 15% of gamers show symptoms that can be classified as an addiction. The negative effects of video game addiction can be very severe, just like any other compulsive disorder. As the internet has grown and more Indians are using it, the likelihood of being exposed to violent content has increased. Online gaming is one of the many categories that online gaming platform intermediaries provide, and it is becoming more popular among children and teenagers in India.
As a result of this, legislators posted several questions on the Lok Sabha’s official website regarding the government’s plans for dealing with excessive internet gaming and the potential effects that violence-abetting video games may have on the country’s children and teenagers. In response, the state minister of electronics and IT, Mr. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, delivered a statement saying there are no plans to regulate how long people in India can play online games. India seems not to follow China’s lead in banning the gaming industry. The dangers that online gaming poses are something that Mr. Chandrasekhar claimed the Indian government is also aware of.
No Laws would be Passed
Vishnu Datt Sharma and Bhagirath Choudhary questioned the Minister on the government’s awareness of how many online games are robbing the younger generation of their time and turning them into gambling addicts, which costs the youth and their parent’s money. Responding to the numerous questions, Mr. Chandrasekhar said that until gaming companies abide by the information technology regulations of 2021 and ensure that no harm is being done to children, no laws will be created to control the gaming industry.
They questioned Mr. Chandrasekhar on whether the government intended to address the problems related to online gaming and whether it intended to set a weekly time limit for players under the age of 18 of three hours. The Minister stated that the regulations place a crucial responsibility on intermediaries to exercise due diligence by taking reasonable steps to ensure that their users do not host, display, publish, transmit, or share any information that could be harmful to children, enflame criminal activity, promotes gambling, or break any currently in effect laws. Also, important social media intermediaries- those with more than 50 lakh Indian users – must designate a Chief Compliance Officer and a nodal contact for round-the-clock communication with law enforcement agencies.
A Different Outlook
India presently has no plans to limit the time people, including children, spend playing games online, differing from its neighbour China, which last year shocked the local gaming industry by enacting harsh new regulations. Chandrasekhar asserted that the government is aware of the risks and problems related to online gaming, such as addiction, violence, and financial loss. Still, he stressed that the country’s IT rules require intermediaries to undertake due diligence.
Many countries worldwide have implemented or are contemplating limiting how much time children can spend playing video games. Due to this pressure, game makers are reducing their attempts to make in-game child purchases profitable. This year, game developers were found to be preying on vulnerable audiences by using flashy advertisements and other deceptive tactics to sell them in-game items, or loot boxes, according to a paper co-sponsored by consumer associations in over fifteen countries, including France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. As a result, almost 200 apps with direct or indirect ties to China were subject to a broader crackdown that included the prohibitions.
This measure of not restricting playtime in India is in stark contrast to what China did, which includes limiting kids’ gaming time to one hour per school day and establishing stricter regulations for releasing new games. These regulations destroyed China’s game industry, which had titans like Tencent and NetEase. According to the Online Gaming Sector in India, the laws put in place by the government are designed to ensure that everyone has access to a reliable, open, and accessible internet.