Gaming addiction: Youth kills self after failing to repay loans

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A 25-year-old student allegedly died by suicide in Indore after failing to repay the money he had taken to play online games reported NDTV. “Jitendra Vaskle (25), a resident of Indrapuri hostel, hanged himself from the railing of the hostel’s stairs late Monday night,” Ramprasad Malviya, assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of Bhawarkuan police station said.

A suicide note found in Vaskle’s pocket said he had taken a loan to play some online games that offered prize money. But he kept on losing money in these games and failed to repay the loan. The loan amount has not been mentioned in the note,” he said. It is not clear if the games referred to are related to real-money gaming or video games like BGMI and Free Fire Garena.

Youth commits suicide due to gaming debt trap

As per the police department Vaskle, whose parents work in Maharashtra, was studying in the Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Applications (PGDCA) course and was also working as a security guard. In a similar incident, a 14-year-old boy killed himself on February 13, 2022, because his family did not allow him to “complete a challenge on the Garena Free Fire game”.The teen suicide occurred on a day before the Indian government had banned the Garena Free Fire-Illuminate game in India on February 14, 2022.

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Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra last month announced that the state government will soon enact a law for regulating online gaming for children. The announcement came when the minister was referring to the alleged suicide by an 11-year-old boy after getting addicted to the Free Fire game.

An 11-year-old boy from Bhopal allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself over his addiction to online game. “A minor allegedly committed suicide and was found dead at his residence. As per his parents, the minor spent around ₹6,000 on an online game without their permission. Parents had deleted the app once. The probe is underway,” Bhopal’s Additional Commissioner of Police Sachin Atulkar was quoted then.

The Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in September 2021 announced the launch of “digital de-addiction centers” in the state to rehabilitate children inured to online games into the mainstream society under the leadership of the police department. He announced that a centralized facility would soon be set up and the service would be extended to all districts later.

The Union Ministry of Education last December has warned parents and teachers against rising online gaming addiction among children. Earlier, the Rajasthan government issued an advisory for parents and teachers suggesting measures to safeguard children from addiction to online gaming. The advisory issued by the Rajasthan Council of School Education details technical points which are helpful in monitoring the activities and involvement of the children in gaming.