UAE woman seeks divorce over PUBG video game feud

UAE woman seeks divorce after husband forbids her from playing PUBG video game
3 min read
29 April, 2019
A young Arab woman living in the UAE has sought divorce from her husband - because he told her to stop playing the wildly popular PUBG video game.
PUBG was banned in Iraq earlier this month [NurPhoto]

A young woman in the UAE has sought divorce from her husband after he reportedly attempting to ban her from playing popular video game PUBG.

A woman of an unnamed Arab nationality sought help from the Ajman police's social centre after a fight over the game with her husband turned violent, an Emirati police captain told local media.

"The woman justified her demand for divorce by saying that she was being deprived of her right to choose her means of entertainment as she derived pleasure and comfort from the game," Captain Wafa Khalil al-Hosani told Gulf News.

"It was well within limits, she said, adding that she had not activated the chat option where she would be exposed to strangers and was playing the game only with her friends and relatives," the officer said.

The husband reportedly claimed his opposition to PUBG was necessary in order to "keep the family together" and did not expect his wife to request divorce over the game, he told the police officer.

But this was not the first case relating to PUBG at the Ajman police's social centre, nor in the Middle East.

A mother of a 13-year-old boy in the UAE recently complained to the centre that her son was addicted to the game.

"He was not doing his school work nor eating his food properly. When the family tried to block access to the game, he isolated himself and had to be moved to hospital for treatment," reported Hosani.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds or PUBG, which pits marooned characters against one another in a virtual fight to the death, is a South Korean-made game that been been downloaded more than 360 million times around the world since its release in late 2017 and is highly popular in the Middle East.

Banned

But the controversial game has been blocked in several countries around the world, including Iraq where it was banned earlier this month for "inciting violence".

Prior to the move to ban the game, local media had for months alleged that the game - condemned by the Iraqi military for distracting soldiers and by influential Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr for "brainwashing" young people - had caused marital disputes and even divorces.

Parents across the Middle East have called for a ban on PUBG and other similar games, including Fortnight, which earlier this month was blamed for a 15-year-old girl in the UAE being admitted into a rehabilitation centre.

The girl’s love of playing with knives, her enjoyment of blood and her attempts of “suicidal stunts” prompted her parents to seek medical help, Khaleej Times reported. The girl first cut her hair to look like a boy before beginning to bite her schoolmates, and later uploaded images of knives on her Instagram account, the parents said.

Medical staff at the Rashid Hospital were unable to contain her aggressive behaviour and called on Dubai Police for assistance in dealing with the young girl.

An official at the police's victim care department, Sgt Aysha Hassan, described the girl’s obsession with the video game and said she seemed to be imitating violent acts in real life. She had even attempted to “slash” her parents with a knife, noting she "enjoyed blood”.

Authorities in the UAE have called on parents and schools to closely monitor children’s behaviour, urging those concerned to report games they feel could be harmful.

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