Following the suicide of a 12-year-old boy on Thursday, Thailand’s Criminal Court has ordered the closure of 72 websites.
The Bangkok Post reports that Pongsathorn Wattanabenjasopha leaped to his death from the sixth floor of his school building, after being banned from playing video games by his father.
Oddly enough, the 72 sites shuttered by the Thai government include both online game and gambling venues. The Post reports comments by a government official who said that game-addicted children were more likely to commit suicide:
Bundit Sornpaisarn, director of the Rajanagarindra Child and Adolescent Mental Health Institute, said the boy’s suicide reflected that children who were addicted to games and had an aggressive mentality were more likely to commit suicide than others.
Parents need to instil a sense of discipline in children from a young age if such tragedies are to be prevented, he said.
Dr Bundit said people whose children were in their teens should use positive communications to deal with their child’s addiction to online games. They should control their emotions and listen to their children’s views, as that would bring positive responses, he said.
GP: It’s impossible to know from a distance what was troubling young Pongsathorn Wattanabenjasopha, but it would seem reasonable for the Thai government to at least conduct some sort of investigation before closing down online game websites.
And, while GP neither supports nor covers online gambling sites, their inclusion in the crackdown seems odd, since there is no report to date indicating that the boy was involved in any way with gambling.
But, as GamePolitics documented in 2008, Thailand has something of a repressive history in regard to games and the Internet.