Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 18 September 2019

Iraq considers banning 'Fortnite' as it 'threatens the social and moral peace'

Violent video games are under question in the Middle Eastern nation

Video game 'Fortnite' is highly addictive, studies have shown. Alamy Stock Photo
Video game 'Fortnite' is highly addictive, studies have shown. Alamy Stock Photo

Authorities in Iraq are considering banning Fortnite and other similar video games amid fears the violence portrayed in their storylines cause a threat to the country's stability.

Sami'a Ghulab, a senior Member of Parliament in Iraq, said these kinds of computer games promote violence and "threaten the social and moral peace", urging authorities to "end this negative phenomenon through the issuance of legislation to prevent the circulation of these games."

The research has not demonstrated that there is cause for concern

Professor Andrew Przybylski, lead researcher on a recent study of video games and real-life violence

"The Committee on Culture, Information, Tourism, and Archaeology views with great concern the spread of the phenomenon of electronic games that is causing violence among children, and young boys and girls," she added during a recent press conference in Baghdad.

Ghulab made it clear that she would back a proposal to ban the games, as they are "affecting the social, psychological and educational level of everyone".

Fears seem to have arisen following various tragic incidents, including a young man killing a friend in Erbil with a shotgun during what was said to be "role-play" of PUBG. Other reports claim there has been "aggression" between children and parents when they have been asked to stop playing Fortnite, a game that has widely been proven to be highly addictive for players.

Fears over violence and video games overblown

A recent study from the Oxford Internet Institute and the University of Oxford found that the fears that there are connections between violent video games and violence in real life are overblown.

It states in its closing remarks: "The results provide confirmatory evidence that violent video game engagement, on balance, is not associated with observable variability in adolescents' aggressive behaviour."

Lead researcher Professor Andrew Przybylski added: “The idea that violent video games drive real-world aggression is a popular one, but it hasn’t tested very well over time."

“Despite interest in the topic by parents and policymakers, the research has not demonstrated that there is cause for concern.”

That being said, Britain's Prince Harry recently spoke out about the addictive nature of games like Fortnite and the damage they can do to one's mental health. "That game shouldn’t even be allowed," he said at an event at London's YMCA.

"What is the benefit of having that game in your household, no matter what age you are? It’s created as an addiction to keep you in front of a computer as long as possible."

Updated: April 17, 2019 02:09 PM

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