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.
Christian Dakin is an editor, designer, and video game director currently based out of Tokyo, Japan. Originally from a small town in Georgia, he studied in Japan for a year in college before returning again for work. Christian enjoys studying Japanese and the outdoors. In his off time, he is most likely to be found adventuring to a castle, belting it out in karaoke with friends, or in a gym somewhere.