Iraqi member of parliament chair Sami’a Ghulab made the statement during a recent press conference in Baghdad. Ghulab chairs the Committee on Culture, Information, Tourism, and Archaeology. She continued, saying that her committee “views with great concern the spread of the phenomenon of electronic games that is causing violence among children, and young boys and girls.”
Ghulab further stated that violent games were “affecting the social, psychological and educational level of everyone.”
Numerous groups have raised concerns about the effects of video games on children over the years. However, a recent study by the Oxford Internet Institute showed no link between violent games and aggression in children.
Last November however, a young Iraqi man killed his friend with a shotgun in what has been described as “PUBG roleplay gone wrong.” Meanwhile, Fortnite has been the target of criticism from Iraqi parents. They claim that it has become impossible to pull their children away from the game.
Religious leaders in Iraq are leading the charge against these games. Last year, religious authorities made a ruling stating that it was forbidden to play PUBG for more than “a few minutes a day.” More recently, Iraqi Shia clerics Ali Al-Sistani and Muqtada Al-Sadr have advised players to be wary of “the addictive properties and intellectually wasteful nature of the games.”
Iraq isn’t the only country that’s considering a ban on certain video games. Recently, the Nepal Telecommunication Authority banned PUBG throughout the country. In that case, the authorities in Nepal were only concerned with one game; however, the proposed Iraqi ban looks to ban not just one title but a whole subsection of games.