Home Gaming Saudi Arabia bans nearly 50 games after children’s deaths

Saudi Arabia bans nearly 50 games after children’s deaths

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The Blue Whale Challenge is the possibly apocryphal online social “game” that allegedly urges young people to commit acts of self-harm, with the eventual aim being suicide. Despite no cases being 100% confirmed, the challenge – which originated in Russia – spawned a wave of moral panic. While most experts believe it started as a sensationalist hoax, it’s quite probably led to young people hurting themselves.

That appears to be the case in Saudi Arabia, where a 13-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy reportedly took their own lives as part of the challenge. In response, the Saudi government has banned…video games.

“The Saudi General Commission for Audio-Visual Media said Monday it was banning 47 games, including Grand Theft Auto V, Assassins Creed 2 and Witcher, for unspecified violations of rules and regulations,” says the Associated Press.

In a story that adds more context to the situation, Arab News says that the boy’s father has confirmed it wasn’t Blue Whale responsible, but rather a gaming platform.

“I confirm that it wasn’t the Blue Whale game,” said Abu Sa’ad Al-Ahmari. “It was a gaming platform that held other games. I could see my son playing the game, but I didn’t see a pattern. There was no change in his behavior. He was everything a parent would ask for in a child. He was happy, loving, smart and witty. Everyone loved him.”

Al-Ahmari said that though he was aware of his son’s infatuation with the game, there wasn’t any behavioural change that caused alarm. “He was secluding himself and not playing with his friends, although he did still play with his siblings,” Al-Ahmari said.

“After his death, I asked them to open the game to see for myself. It was a devastating game. It breaks you. It (the game’s design) makes you believe that you are weak, taken for granted, neglected, alone and raises suspicion about everyone.”

While the situation is sad, I think this once again comes down to parenting instead of putting the blame on video games. Seems more prudent to clamp down on unrestricted digital communication.

Last Updated: July 17, 2018

10 Comments

  1. Original Heretic

    July 17, 2018 at 10:18

    Hey, Saudi guys, before you ban awesome games, how about you sort out your women’s rights issues?

    Reply

  2. Kromas

    July 17, 2018 at 10:19

    • Original Heretic

      July 17, 2018 at 10:32

      One of my ex-gf’s had hectic ups and downs.
      She confessed to me once that when she made an effort to look her best, she was actually feeling the worst.

      Reply

      • Kromas

        July 17, 2018 at 10:59

        Yes Depression is super bad and most people would not be able to even see it till it is too late. then they would blame everyone else because “Our son/daughter/husband/wife was always happy and smiling and loved everyone and everything.”

        Robin Williams always smiled and even he eventually committed suicide and before that was an alcoholic.

        Reply

        • Kromas

          July 17, 2018 at 11:01

          Ah but Robin Williams was a gamer so maybe we should ban games cause there is definitely a link.

          Also the earth is flat and 5000 years old and dinosaurs is a conspiracy.

          Reply

        • Original Heretic

          July 17, 2018 at 11:05

          Yeah, Robin Williams is probably the most well known case I know of as well. From what I’ve read, they reckon that MOST comedians suffer from depression, in some form or another.
          Totally understand that.
          It’s the whole “I feel so terrible, so down, nobody should feel like this. If I make them laugh, maybe they’ll feel better. Maybe it’ll make ME feel a little bit better….” scenario.
          Williams knew he was funny, people laughed at him all the time.
          Yet in so many interviews, so many live performances, after he said something super funny and everyone laughed, there was this moment when you could see his face drop.

          Reply

    • Pariah

      July 17, 2018 at 12:05

      I live with depression. The only people who know are the people who I’ve told. Nobody else has ever known. It’s easy to put on a brave face once you get the hang of it.

      But this story? There’s a lot we don’t know. Could be depression, peer pressure, guilt, bad parenting. A mix of these, or none of these. People, and parents especially, need something or someone to blame when things go wrong. It’s normal human behaviour. Sadly, games are an easy target because they can’t speak for themselves. It’s easy to take them out of context, especially in this kind of case, because, well, you can’t exactly interview the child and ask how the game affected them, personally. So, blame assumed, and parents have some kind of answer – something they certainly need. An answer.

      Just sad, start to finish.

      Reply

  3. Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

    July 17, 2018 at 10:37

    I usually have something to say about everything regarding human idiocy. But today is that day where I and many, many other people are stuck for words.

    I’m stuck between ridiculing the state of humanity and feeling terrible for what I just read. What the fuck is going on?

    Reply

  4. JAMES

    July 17, 2018 at 11:19

    But, what was the game?

    Reply

  5. Caveshen Rajman

    July 19, 2018 at 13:51

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