09/05/2020, 02.11
INDIA
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Kerala Catholics praise the banning of PUBG, a Chinese app

by Biju Veticad

The video game is seen as a threat to the health and social life of young people and children. More than 36 million Indians have downloaded it to their smartphones. For analysts, India’s ban is in retaliation for clashes with China over the Himalayan border. PUBG detractors call for action against app addiction.

Changanassery (AsiaNews) – Catholics in Kerala have welcomed the government's decision to ban 118 mobile applications, mostly Chinese, including the popular PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG).

For many, games like PUBG are seen as a threat to the health and social life of young people and children, who often become addicted to them.

The government announced the ban Wednesday. According to several observers, the decision is linked to recent tensions with China along the Himalayan border.

The two countries share a 3,488 km border in the remote region, which already saw them fight a brief but bloody war in 1962.

India claims large sectors of Aksai Chin (which the Chinese obtained from Pakistan), whilst China claims the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

For India’s Information Technology Ministry, the banned applications are a threat to national security. Indian authorities have in fact said that they have constant unauthorised access to users’ confidential data.

The ban is nothing new. Narendra Modi's government already blocked 61 applications, including China's TikTok, used by 120 million Indians.

PUBG, a battle game launched in 2017 by the Chinese company Tencent, has nearly 70 million users worldwide: 36.3 million in India alone, half of whom access it daily.

For its detractors, the application creates a dangerous addiction, especially among the young. It is blamed for causing violent behavior, physical and mental problems, sleep disorder and social alienation.

“Because of these applications, many young people spend whole days without socialising with their peers. In doing so, they lose their mental and creative abilities,” said Father Jeemon Banglauparambil, a priest in the Diocese of Changanassery who is very active in the youth ministry.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Fr Jeemon added that the government should ban other PUBG-like apps, so as to make Indian youths "accountable to themselves and society."

Sijo Ambatt, Asia president of the International Federation of the Movement of Young Catholic Parishioners, explains that the excessive use of applications such as PUBG creates an overproduction of adrenaline, which promotes gambling addiction.

The net effect is that people are distracted from their daily chores, including working. Such a problem can only be solved if the authorities take an active interest in the matter.

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