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Independent Research Finds No Causation between Online Gaming and Suicides

By: Team Ifairer | Posted: 23-09-2022
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The Study Advises against Severe Legislation Based on Misinformation that Could Have Adverse Effects

An independent study carried out in public interest by Dr Sandip H. Shah is advising governments, and in particular the Tamil Nadu cabinet, against adopting severe misinformation-based legislation banning online gaming as such a prohibition may have an adverse effect on suicide rates. The paper urges for a ‘rational’ gaming regulation on the basis of further medical and scientific research and collaboration between all stakeholders.

"There isn't sufficient data available both before and after online gaming was legalized to correlate suicide with online gaming," the independent study on 'Suicide and Online Gaming' concludes.

The research paper establishes that suicide is a complex matter caused by a multitude of factors and that suicidal ideation, or the forming of ideas and thoughts about ending one’s life, can have many reasons. The study also points out that finding coincidence and even some correlations does not mean there is a causation link between real money teen patti and any other online games and suicide.

Severe legislation aimed to prohibit online gaming can lead to unintended adverse effects by driving such activities to the underground, the research paper stresses. This will raise the risks for individuals to suffer physical and mental harms, including high levels of stress, potentially leading to desperate situations capable of causing suicidal ideation in a person.

The black market and the underground not only provide no forms of player protection or responsible gaming solutions, but are also notorious for their dubious and harsh methods for collecting debts which can quickly make a bad situation drastically worse for a citizen in trouble.

Achieving a Safe Gaming Environment for All through Sensible Regulation

Sensible gaming regulation must be capable of ensuring a safe and healthy environment for all players, ranging from online roulette fans, to fantasy sports enthusiasts, poker amateurs and professionals, and sports punters.

Such regulation should be based on thorough in-depth scientific research on a large sample and collaborative inputs from all stakeholders, including policy makers, online gaming companies and studios, player groups, and the medical and scientific communities.

The regulatory effort by a government should not rely on hyped media reports covering a tragic event, but should rather look into the matter with a critical and well informed eye to be able to come up with a practical solution that actually solves problems, and does not make them worse.

Unlike gambling and betting on the black market, online gaming activities provided by licensed and regulated operators can give players all the thrills and entertainment of a game in a safe and healthy setting. Practising one’s skills and knowledge in such an environment has been shown to improve the cognitive abilities of individuals.

A number of responsible gaming mechanisms tested and used in gaming legislations around the world can be employed to protect users from various risks such as compulsive gambling and other mental health issues, as well as excessive losses of money and incontrolable accumulation of debt.

Another purpose of a robust regulation on gaming is to prevent predatory and fraudulent platforms to access the public and also to shield citizens from ill-faith practices such as manipulation of odds and various scams.

Anti money laundering measures, and as a whole limiting illegal and criminal money flows by curbing black market gaming, are also an important aspect of modern-day regulatory frameworks related to gaming.

Special attention should also be given to the prevention of miners from accessing age-inappropriate gaming content such as real money games or games based on in-app purchases and paid loot boxes.

Author of the study is Dr Sandip H. Shah, Professor of Psychiatry and Dean of the Government Medical College at the Shri Govind Guru University in Panchmahals, Godhra, Gujarat. The research was peer reviewed by Dr. Ajay Chauhan, MD, Medical Superintendent at the Hospital for Mental Health in Ahmedabad.

The research paper takes a deep look into a number of key aspects related to suicides, including the complexity of causation and ideation, suicide statistics in the country, prevention policies and strategies, media reports on particuar cases, financial frauds in online space, the necessity to gain involvement from all stakeholders, as well as the infrastructure support and interventions needed for the prevention of suicides in India.

The study by Dr Shah was presented to the state government of Tamil Nadu which had invited the general public and various stakeholders to provide comments and recommendations related to the cabinet’s intentions to devise new gaming legislation.
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