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China Implements Strict Rules on Children’s Online Gaming Time

Credit: Unsplash

As a person who spends a significant amount of time playing video games daily, I can appreciate the need to regulate children’s gaming habits. While reflecting on my own childhood gaming experiences, I understand the importance of moderation (although as an adult now, I feel entitled to play games as much as I please). However, the responsibility for managing a child’s gaming time should ideally fall to parents rather than the government, making China’s new regulations somewhat concerning.

The Chinese government recently declared that, commencing on September 1, individuals under 18 years old in China will be restricted to three hours of online gaming per week. This time is allocated only on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and specific public holidays. To ensure compliance, Chinese-owned online gaming companies like Tencent are mandated to uphold this directive by restricting minor access to their servers during non-designated gaming hours. Additionally, all Chinese online game platforms will require users to register using their real identities going forward, presumably to prevent underage individuals from circumventing the system by using adult accounts.

This initiative marks the Chinese government’s latest effort to combat online gaming addiction among its youth. State-controlled media outlets in China have criticized gaming as a detrimental activity affecting the physical and mental well-being of children, with one publication even referring to it as “spiritual opium.”

Nevertheless, it is common knowledge that children have a knack for finding ways to obtain what they desire. Many have already identified gaps in the new policy; notably, it only pertains to online games that require constant internet connectivity, thereby excluding offline and console-based games. It remains unclear whether international game titles from non-Chinese companies will be obligated to adhere to these regulations.

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