There has been a conflict rising since some recent years between the authorities and Videogames creators. When the content is found to be excessive violence or sexually arousing or raising any other kind of communal issues, Censorship becomes mandatory then. Censorship means access to the game is limited or regulating the game under specific control or censoring the content of the game.
With the rising clash and need to censor the games, researchers have also followed up parallel about the need for censorship. Dr. Jeanne Funk had published research in the journal India Petrics. The research claimed that the children lying in the age group of class 7th and 8th found violence and games with high stress to be very exciting. Only 2% of the children were found interested in educational games whereas 29% liked sports games having violent graphics in them. Violence and sadism have been brought in as the main theme of games with digital and technological advancement.
The games have also been found to be making children less sensitive about pain, suffering, and grief. The adrenaline flow raging violent feelings are seen to be the dominant ones in gamers.
Countries with Censorship
The US has come up as the first country to regulate video games and put censorship on them. Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) made rules for game creators to give ratings as per the content of the game. The ratings are divided into three parts namely: Everyone (E), Mature(M) and for above 17, Adults Only(A.O.) should be imprinted and the gaming industry acted positively on it. Also, Games like Pokemon, Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts 2, Resident Evil, Bravely Default are a few which were censored on various bases like excessive skin show, violence, excessive alcoholism, killing animals, and others.
Germany, China, and Japan are also among the countries which had put ban or censorship on various games not suiting their local culture, or belief, or the content of the game.
Serious Reported Cases
Halo 3: (2007) A shocking news came when a 16-year-old boy shot both his parents when not allowed to take his videogame DVD. The boy found the game’s DVD in his father’s locker and his dad’s revolver also in the same locker.
Diable 3: (2012) Playing for 40 hours nonstop at a café in Taiwan, the 18-year old suffered a blood clot in his legs due to seating continuously and eventually died.
Man Hunt:( 2004) In England, a boy 17 years old emulated a death scene from a videogame and stabbed a kid 50 times until he died. The boy was sentenced to life.
Slenderman: (2014) Three girls 12,12 and 13 years were playing a videogame and of them hoped that the ghost in the videogame would not haunt them if they sacrifice the other girl and leave her in the woods for the ghost. They stabbed the 12-year-old 19 times and left her to die in the woods. They had planned to do this for months.
PUBG: (2020) In India, a boy was resisted by his parents to play PUBG and they did not recharge the internet on his phone to play a game. The boy hung himself when scolded not to play the game.
BLUE WHALE CHALLENGE: The widely criticized and claimed to be very dangerous games had many cases reporting for deaths in many countries. The game gave challenges to do and eventually, the final challenge was suicide. The Supreme Court of India ordered the Government while hearing a PIL filed by a 73-year-old, to constitute a committee to build firewalls for these types of games.
Laws to Censor games in India
Article 19(2) of the Indian Constitution
Article 39(f) of the Indian Constitution
Section 5(B)(I) of The Cinematograph Act, 1952
Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000
Section 67A of the Information Technology Act, 2000
Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986
Other Countries have other laws applicable to put censorship on Videogames.
In light of these serious cases and adverse effects on children due to the uncontrolled content of games have been far-sighted by the Court of Law. The reports from psychiatrists linking violence to video games and their effects are very hard to be ignored completely. If an enjoyable platform can be used to spread pleasure and joy by only controlling the content of the platform, then it is not a very big price to pay for.
Moreover, the Videogame creators and Authorities need to come at one stage and work together with mutual understanding to overcome this problem.