Thailand Has Yet to Institute Adequate Gaming Laws to Protect Its Youth

Thailand’s rapidly growing population of 27 million gamers has boosted the country’s prominence in Southeast Asia’s gaming market, especially for mobile games. Yet the Thai government is being criticized for its lack of concern in protecting Thailand’s youths against video game addiction and its resulting health problems. While lawmakers have passed bills that give support to professionals and entrepreneurs in the gaming industry, there are still no specific set of guidelines for gaming content classifications and player-age qualifications.

Currently, the set of gaming laws in place governing the production and sale of gaming content in the country are the 2008 Film and Video Act and the 2007 Computer Crime Act.

Why Thailand’s Existing Video Game Laws are Regarded as Inadequate?

Thailand’s Film and Video Act (FVA) prescribes laws regarding content censorship based only on principles of public order and good morals to ensure the preservation of Thailand’s security and dignity as a nation. Otherwise, the Censorship Committee that inspects the content of the gaming software will not grant the necessary license for the sale of the game in Thailand.

Yet the FVA regulations are applicable to software content recorded as visual images of physical media like discs or cartridges. The FVA censorship does not cover gaming content published and distributed by way of cloud servers and accessed as streamed content or as downloadable digital copy.

The Computer Crime Act (CCA) on the other hand prescribes guidelines for penalizing distributors and sellers engaged in the illegal transmission of gaming software containing prohibited and deceptive content such as those depicting obscenity, immorality, and promoting acts of terrorism and other threats to Thailand’s national security.

Under the CCA, violators may include online service providers maintaining the web-based channel. The CCA punishments will also apply to operators of servers that store, import and relay the illegal data with their knowledge and consent, unless they can prove otherwise. Under the CCA, players accessing illegal content are also at risk of facing penalty for storing and transmitting downloaded content deemed as illegal data under the FVA.

Thailand’s health experts, educators and parents are calling for laws that will require game publishers and offline and online distributors to age-discriminate in the sale and/or transmission of gaming content whether by way of dics, cartridges, digital copies or mobile apps.

As it is, the content ratings based on age qualifications for mobile game apps, are provided only as a standard requirement of digital media stores like Google Play amd Apple Store. If necessary, children need only to provide false information about their age without being required to present proof of birth data and/or consent of a parent or legal guardian.

Help for Gamers Experiencing Depression and/or Anxiety

According to Thailand’s Department of Mental Health, the number of children affected by video-game addiction increased by 400% Among adolescent gamers, gaming addiction has led to negative impacts on their mental health. The outcomes of their performances as individual gamers and inability to keep up with the skills and experience levels, leave them out in the cold. Many experience feelings of depression and anxiety of being trash-talked or of being excluded as a member of a team in a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA).

While these are issues best handled by mental health professionals who can help gamers accept failures, there are professional, highly-skilled gamers who offer gaming-as-a-service. A website known as provides support in ways that can boost the morale and reputation of players to help them overcome anxiety and frustrations.

Although regarded as cheating, keep in mind that in a country where there are about 27 million players, so far, only a million or so have gained reputation as esports gamers. The gaming industry therefore benefits from this type of gaming-support service, as it can help sustain the interests of the other members of the gaming population.

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