Published: 02nd July 2021
Courts cannot ban online games for children even if they are violent: Madras High Court
The observations were made on a plea moved by E Martin Jayakumar, a resident of Chennai, seeking direction from the Union government to regulate online gaming
There is no doubt that children are addicted to online games and mobile phones, but courts cannot order any regulation on such issues based on the personal sense of morality of a petitioner or judges, directed the Madras High Court on Thursday. Disposing of a plea, the court granted liberty to the petitioner to approach the Union government for relief.
The court's observations were made on a plea moved by E Martin Jayakumar, a resident of Chennai, seeking direction from the Union government to regulate online gaming. The petitioner also referred to a Dartmouth meta-analysis published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), which notes that playing violent video games by adolescents is associated with an increase in physical aggression over time.
"Studies have shown that violent video games contribute to antisocial and aggressive behaviour. School-going children are those who mostly play video games. This may also lead to more lethal violence or criminal acts. The analysis also reveals that video games affect the kids' prosocial behaviour," he added in the plea.
The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy observed, "There is no doubt that children and young adults are addicted to their phones. However, courts should not make rulings on these issues based on the personal sense of morality of the petitioner or of the judges concerned. Such matters of policy should be left to the wisdom of those representing the public in the governments."