FILE PHOTO: A gamer plays PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) at the Paris Games Week (PGW), a trade fair for video games in Paris, France, October 25, 2018. REUTERS
Egypt's public prosecution warned parents on Tuesday against letting their children play the PUBG mobile phone game, or similar games, noting that it was investigating the death of a young boy whose parents blamed the world-famous mobile app for his sudden death.
According to the statement on the incident, the prosecution in Port Said was notified of the young boy's death on 28 September and ordered an examination of the body.
The statement added that the coroner's preliminary examination had attributed the cause of the death to a sudden increase in blood pressure due to being overweight.
His parents told prosecutors that, immediately before his death, the boy was playing PUBG on his mobile phone at bedtime. He then laid down with his phone on his chest. The parents thought he had fallen asleep but on checking he was found to be non-responsive.
He was taken to hospital by ambulance but was found to have died.
The prosecution said the boy played PUBG frequently and although it has not yet found a causal relation between the popular video game and the death, it noted he was addicted to playing it.
The prosecution referred to previous cases where children had passed away or were hurt because of "playing such games."
PUBG, or PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS, is a multiplayer game that has gained huge popularity in its mobile format, with hundreds of millions of downloads worldwide.
The prosecution called on parents to “grasp their responsibility” to rationalise their children’s use of games that harm them “physically, intellectually and psychologically," according to the statement, adding that children should instead take up sports and activities that empower them and build their character, for the sake of the nation's future.
After the news of the boy’s death went viral online, with blame being placed on the game, Al-Azhar International Centre for Fatwas republished its fatwa prohibiting playing PUBG, saying that its media department had recorded cases of deaths of and murder by players.
The centre said that Islam prohibits taking any actions that would harm one’s own life or another’s life and called on authorities and society to ban the game.
It also advised parents to keep an eye on their children throughout the day and to check what applications they use on their mobile devices.
Despite the fatwa from Al-Azhar, Egypt’s leading Sunni institution, PUBG is currently the second-most downloaded game in the country’s version of Apple's iOS app store.