Scolded over PUBG addiction, teenager ends life

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A 15-year-old boy allegedly ended his life after his parents scolded him for spending too much time playing PUBG, in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.

The boy was identified as B. Lohith, a Class X student from Korada area in Peda Gantyada under New Port Police Station limits.

Police Inspector Pydapu Naidu said that Lohith’s parents reportedly reprimanded him over his addiction to the game. “Lohith was spending too much time on his mobile phone playing PUBG. His parents were worried about his addiction and they confiscated his mobile phone recently. Lohith went into depression and allegedly consumed pesticide on August 21. He was undergoing treatment at King George Hospital and succumbed on Wednesday,” Mr. Naidu said.

Lohith’s father B. Venkata Reddy works as a contract driver near the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant.

A case has been registered under 174 CrPC (unnatural death), Mr. Naidu said.

Disturbing impact

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) has gained a reputation for being a wildly addictive game, and has stoked a debate across the country on whether it should be banned. Calls for a ban increased in the wake of a number of teenagers and adolescents ending their lives after being confronted by their families over their addiction to the game.

There have also been incidents of youngsters killing their family members after their phones were confiscated in a bid to stop their addiction to the game.

On September 8, a 21-year-old youth named Raghuveer Kumbar allegedly hacked his father to death after being refused money to recharge his phone to play the game, in Belagavi in Karnataka.

‘Mental health disorder’

Last June, the World Health Organization (WHO) categorised addiction to gaming as a mental health disorder. In the manual, International Classification of Diseases, WHO describes gaming addiction — digital or video games — as “a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour that becomes so extensive that it takes precedence over other life interests.”

Incident shocks city

The incident sent shockwaves in Visakhapatnam city as it was for the first time that it witnessed a case of suicide related to gaming addiction.

Not just PUBG, but online games and an overuse of social media too have become a cause of concern for parents.

Police officials urged parents to monitor their children’s mobile phone usage and seek the help of counsellors, if necessary.

Those battling suicidal thoughts are urged to contact police helpline 100 for counselling.

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