Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority (BICMA) has called for the ban on the online multi-player game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) in the country citing its negative impact on young people.

The game has been banned in other countries due to its addictive and violent nature.

In Bhutan, concern among parents, teachers and authorities has been growing.

The online game which was released in February last year is known to have negative behavioural change and other impacts on the lives of youth, resulting in poor academic performance and social interaction.

“The violent contents of a game can also affect mental health of a child,” a parent said.

A guardian told Kuensel that her nephew, who is studying architecture was a brilliant student who now,  has lost his study habits due to PUBG.

Children as young as seven years are found to be playing the game in Bhutan.

In the notification, BICMA said that the authority noticed increasing numbers of youth playing the online game which can be easily downloaded from play store and apple store.

The authority, on October 1, directed Internet service providers Bhutan Telecom Limited (BTL), Tashi InfoComm Limited and NANO Bhutan to block PUBG applications and make it inaccessible within the country immediately.

Following the directive, many social media users have taken online appreciating the ban. At the same time, some users have expressed disgruntlement calling the initiative as deprivation of individual rights. Some are suggesting players to switch to the newly launched online game called Call on Duty (COD). PUBG soldiers are wondering if the game could be even banned. 

Chief executive officer of BTL, Karma Jurme, said that he had asked his technical team to study the feasibility of complying with the directive.

In India, several state governments attempted banning the game since last July citing the violent content and other harmful impact of the game on the youth.

The Internet providers in Nepal once enforced the ban on the game in April this year.

On its part to make the game safer, PUBG has decided implementing digital lock for users less than 13 years of age.

The digital lock system will lock out players under the age of 13 and they would have to ask their guardians or parents to open the game for them.

But there are obvious loopholes in such a system.

Chimi Dema