CHENNAI: There is no doubt that children are addicted to online games and mobile phones. However, courts cannot order any regulation on such issues based on the personal sense of morality of a petitioner or judges, the first bench of the Madras High Court orally observed on Thursday.
The court, disposing of the plea, granted liberty to the petitioner to approach the Union government for relief.
The court made the observations on a plea moved by E Martin Jayakumar, a resident of Chennai, seeking direction to the Union government to regulate online gaming that is detrimental to children and young adults.
The petitioner also pointed out a Dartmouth meta-analysis published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that playing violent video games by adolescents is associated with increases in physical aggression over time.
"Studies have also shown that violent video games contribute to anti-social and aggressive behaviour. The School going children predominantly engaged in playing video games. The research also reveals that aggressive behaviour is a result of playing violent video games. It also results in more lethal violence or other criminal acts.
The analysis also reveals that exposure to violent video games increases physiological arousal and aggression-related thoughts and feelings. Playing video games also decreases prosocial behaviour," he submitted.
The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy admitting the plea observed, "There is no doubt that children and young adults these days are addicted to their phones and their world appears to revolve around their mobile phones.
Often a family could be together sitting at a table but each member using the phone even to describe the dish that they may be having or the quality of the food at the moment.”
However, courts should be slow in entering into such areas on the personal sense of morality of the individual complainant or of the judges concerned, the court stressed.
"... such matters of policy should be left to the wisdom of those representing the people when elected governments are in place," the bench said.
The bench then disposed of the plea granting liberty to the petitioner to approach the Union ministry and the department concerned for relief.