Ministry inquiry into Minecraft over violent elements
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULMar 14, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Mar 14, 2015 12:00 am
The Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policies may file a lawsuit for restrictions on popular videogame Minecraft, which is deemed to have harmful aspects in a ministry report, according to media outlets.
A probe was launched by the ministry last month into Minecraft, over reports that the game encouraged violence among youth. Media outlets quoted Minister Ayşenur İslam as saying that the ministry may file a lawsuit against the gaming company if the inquiry concludes the game promotes violence.
Habertürk newspaper published the details of the inquiry by the ministry's Department of Children's Service that warned about a set of risks related to the game. "Although the game has elements to encourage creativity among children, it also directs children to violence while building worlds and thus, it leaves a negative impact on children's psycho-social development," the report says. It also notes that in-game purchase options may encourage children to excessively use credit cards belonging to their parents, and "may motivate them to take others' possessions without permission in turn."
Though the game has no elements of violence, ‘mods' created by users include options to kill others. The ministry reportedly received many complaints regarding the game, especially violence against women in those mods.
According to the report, players are required to kill characters to protect the things they build in the course of the game and thus, it is "a violent game." The report also says it is observed that the more the children play the game, the more difficulty they have distinguishing the real world from the virtual one.
Minecraft has different modes including a "peaceful" mode that does not involve violence and most killings involve hunting animals for food.
Based on building worlds of one's own design, the game is also promoted as an educational tool helping children to boost their creative skills by building cities, farms etc.
Another aspect of the game is the "social isolation" of players addicted to the game, according to the report that also points out the dangers of forming online friendships with strangers that might pose a risk, via the multiplayer game.
If the court approves the ministry's appeal, it may order blocking access to the online version of the game, where mods are frequently used. No country has imposed a ban on the game although complaints over violent elements of the game are common in other countries, including the U.S.
Like the rest of the world, the game is hugely popular in Turkey. A guidebook on playing the game is among the best-selling children's books in the country, with 80,000 copies sold in seven months.