Kerala CM announces digital de-addiction centers to curb online gaming addiction among kids

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Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday 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 announcement was made during the digital inauguration of different police stations that were newly constructed and renovated, across the state.

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“Digital de-addiction centers will be set up at the behest of police to bring children addicted to online games into the mainstream of society,” the CM said while outlining various programs of the police department.

Aside from 20 child-friendly buildings and several police station buildings, the Tourist Protection and Police Assistance Centre at Ponmudi, a Command and Control Centre at Munnar, a mess barrack at the Women Police Battalion at Menamkulam in Thiruvananthapuram, and a women’s barrack at the Special Operation Group at Areekode in Malappuram were among those that were, inaugurated

Earlier in the month, 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 detailed technical points which are helpful in monitoring the activities and involvement of the children in gaming.

The advisory suggested establishing an “internet gateway” at home which will help in effective monitoring, logging, and use of content by the child.

The parents and teachers were asked to keep a watch if children are behaving in an abnormal manner and whether they are mostly involved in online activities, a sudden increase in time spent online, especially on social media, and they turn aggressive after using the internet. The advisory also suggested that it should be ensured that the child accesses the internet from a computer placed in a family space.

In related news, the Delhi High Court bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh in July this year had directed the concerned authorities of the Central Government (Ministry of Woman and Child Development and Ministry of Law ) to decide the representation made by petitioners seeking direction to the Union of India to consider formulating a national policy to protect the children from online games addiction and also to constitute a regulatory authority to monitor and rate the content of both offline and online games.

Hearing a similar plea (WP No. 13600 of 2021) on game addiction, the Madras High Court said that elected governments are required to take decisions on such matters of policy. The Court disposed of the plea by permitting the petitioner to make representations to the Union of India through its Ministry of Women and Child Development and to the State through the Department perceived to be the most appropriate by the petitioner.