The famous economist Theodore Levitt said, "Anything in excess is a poison." When we use the term 'addiction', the first thing that comes to mind might be drugs, but that is simply one page of the book. The term addiction is broad. Even something beneficial can be harmful if it turns into an addiction and is over consumed.
Recently 'Player Unknown's Battlegrounds', known better as PUBG and 'Free Fire', two of the most downloaded mobile games on the Google Play Store are under consideration for being banned in Bangladesh. Furthermore, repeated incidents of trafficking of Bangladeshi women to Bangalore, India by a Tiktok based sex trafficking gang has grabbed the attention of law enforcement agencies. A possible ban on the apps 'TikTok' and 'Likee' are under consideration too.
However, this is not Bangladesh's first brush with a potential TikTok ban. In November 2018, the Bangladesh government blocked access to TikTok, and in August 2020, the authorities requested the service to remove 10 videos that were uploaded from within the country.
The Chinese video-sharing platform has almost 700 million users worldwide as of 2021 and its business model has inspired other apps to emulate its features. The Likee app has also garnered a significant worldwide following of over 150 million users.
Bangladesh's telecommunication minister Mostafa Jabbar had declared 'war' against pornography and blocked over 20,000 porn sites in Bangladesh earlier in 2019. But the fact of the matter is that pornography sites or TikTok and Likee can be easily accessed by using a virtual private network (VPN). It is a war fought in vain. Similarly, finding an alternative for banned addictive games is just a matter of time.
Furqan Qureshi, an Indian teenager of just 16 year died of a cardiac arrest while playing PUBG for a 6 hour long stretch in 2019. This is an extreme case but in general, gaming addiction is a significant concern.
India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Korea, Jordan, Nepal, Israel, and Iraq are the countries where PUBG is banned. India banned PUBG last year under Section 69-A of the Information Technology Act. The Government of India said the PUBG app was engaged in activities that are prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity, defense, and the security of the country, reports Business Today.
PUBG was first released in early 2017 and now 227 million gamers play it globally. It is one of the most popular games on Steam and had over 464,000 concurrent players in March 2021. Free Fire became the most downloaded mobile game globally in 2019, and has managed to continue its dominant run, especially in Latin America and Southeast Asia, reports Dhaka Tribune.
Clash of Clans, well known as CoC was another popular mobile game only a few years ago. It also created an addiction among teenagers. With time, its popularity fell but has been replaced with other games like PUBG or Free Fire. Just like that, if these games are banned now, new games will replace the current ones. As a result, a ban might show a temporary positive impact but it is not the ultimate solution.
Cutting your head is not a solution to a headache, rather taking medicine is. Because it controls the pain. Likewise, one must practice emotional intelligence, how to control oneself, how to react to things, etc. The government should introduce moral education, practicing one's religion - as all religions teach the lesson of peace and compassion, and emotional intelligence as mandatory parts of the curriculum from an early stage.
The government should find a better way to monitor social media platforms including Facebook or Instagram so that such crimes cannot take place on the platforms. Also, there should be an instant reporting option against spreading rumors or commenting hate speech, abusive content on all platforms. The government must demonstrate exemplary punishments to people who commit crimes using social media, including the recent ones.
Quality entertainment is very crucial for a child's proper mental health and growth. Urbanisation has reduced the number of parks, playgrounds, and entertainment spots noticeably. But no alternative has been introduced. The young generation must be introduced to educational, healthy, and quality entertainment.
Another crucial factor that is not negligible is good parenting. It is not as easy as it sounds. Parents must provide their kids the most comfortable zone, being the one to share all problems and frustrations with, the idol for personality, the source of happiness. Because, creating a self-controlled and morally educated generation is the ultimate solution.
Ariful Hasan Shuvo is a student of Economics at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.