A Harsh Criticism of Mobile Games

Gaming Disorder
The original Tweet (pictured above) from the official Twitter account for the Kagoshima Police has since been deleted.

On February 10, the official Twitter page for the Kagoshima Prefectural Police Department Tweeted out a warning to all gamers. In an act reminiscent of a good-intentioned yet ill-informed parent, the police department referred to extended gameplay on smartphones as a “disorder” and warned gamers to stop before they lose their lives.

The entire Tweet read as the following, “can you control the time you play smartphone games? Are games more of a priority than your daily life? Do you continue to play games even though problems are appearing in your social life? That is ‘game disorder.’ Stop playing games before you lose important relationships, your job, and your life.”

The baseless and bold claims of the police department were quickly met with harsh criticisms online, and the Tweet was soon deleted. Later on that day, a representative of the Cyber Crime Division posted a video explaining the meaning behind the original Tweet. According to the representative, the original Tweet was an attempt to warn citizens that increases in gameplay can also increase the risk of cybercrime for cybercrime awareness month. However, the original date of the post, February 10, is a solid ten days after cybercrime awareness month ended in January, making you wonder if that was indeed the police department’s motives.

Criticisms and a Lawsuit for Baseless Claims on Gaming Disorder

The since-deleted Tweet has led to a lawsuit from a Kagoshima teen who believes that ordinances on gaming violate Japan’s constitution. On Twitter, responses to the original statement have been mixed such as the responses below.

One user claims that calling extended gaming a disorder is saying too much, but also that the message of curving addictive habits is not wrong.
Another user disagrees with the message that children are to blame for the growing trend in gaming. According to Twitter user @TeacherChildish, “Recently, more and more parks have banned ball games, and when children play outside, they are complaints of them being too noisy, but when they play games at home, they are accused of having a serious gaming disorder… It is adults who sell games and create an environment where only games can be played.”