A 16-year-old boy of Lichu Tala area near Alipurduar town under the Alipurduar police station was yesterday sent to a rehabilitation centre at Dodearhat under the Khagrabari Gram Panchayat in Cooch Behar district for his addiction to the mobile phone game ‘PUBG.’
Both the parents of the boy are retired government employees, it is learnt. “An incident in Karnataka in the first week of September where a boy addicted to the game murdered his father after the latter denied him money to recharge his mobile number. A similar thing can happen in our state too,” sources here said today. “
The boy had become very weak as he usually ate properly only once in five or six days. Our first duty now is to feed him. He ate a little food yesterday night and we hope he can join mainstream life very soon,” said the secretary of the rehabilitation centre run by the Cooch Behar Faith Foundation, Biswajit Dey.
The father of the boy said that he had not thought in his wildest dreams that his only child would be so addicted to such a game.
“He remained confined in his bedroom and played the game in his smartphone which we had bought for him. We gave him money to recharge his phone out of fear. Sometimes, I myself recharged his mobile number, following fear after what happened in Karnataka in September,” he said.
“As there was no other way to save my child and all of us for that matter, we decided to send him to a rehabilitation centre after we consulted some social workers in our area,” the father added.
It is learnt that the boy has cleared his Madhyamik exams from a private CBSE school in Cooch Behar with 90 percent marks.
“But this time, he failed in Mathematics in class 11 after he started getting hooked to the game,” sources said.
“The parents tried hard to have him continue his studies, but the boy was unwilling to do so and loved to be confined in his bedroom all the time,” they added.
“We tried to take him out and mingle with friends many times in the recent past, but in vain. The last time the boy took bath was on the day before Mahalaya. He also had proper food only once in five or six days,” said a social worker in the area, Bikash Bhowmick.
Doctors at the Alipurduar district hospital confirmed cases related to addiction of mobile games among children and adolescent boys and girls.
“We have advised parents to be aware of their children, who show signs of such mobile and internet game addiction,” a doctor said.