China Tightens Boundaries for Young Gamers and Bans School Night Games

China’s strict limits on how long minors can play video games online have become even more stringent. Chinese children and youth are banned from playing online games on school days and are limited to one hour per day on weekends and holiday evenings, under government rules published on Monday.

Rules published by the National Press and Broadcasting Administration. Tightened restrictions from 2019 aimed at what the government says is a growing scourge of online gaming addiction among schoolchildren. Under the old rules, it was restricted to players under the age of 18. Not playing more than 90 minutes three hours a day on weekdays and weekends.

The administration said parents complained that it was too generous and was applied loosely. The new rule sets the allowed game time as 20:00 – 21:00 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The government has said it will speed up inspections to make sure gaming companies enforce the restrictions.

“Recently, many parents have reported that gaming addiction among some teenagers and children has seriously damaged their normal functioning, life, and mental and physical health,” the management said in an online statement. question answer explanation about the new rules. Parents said they had requested “further restrictions and discounts on the time provided to minors by online gaming services.”

The new rules also reflect the government’s heavy pressure on companies to discard what the Chinese Communist Party says has unhealthy effects, especially among youth and children.

“Some young children don’t listen to their parents’ discipline, and this policy can control them,” said Lily Feng, a company employee in Shenzhen, southern China. She added that her 10-year-old daughter is less interested in online games than TikTok’s Chinese counterpart, Douyin, but the new boundaries set a good example. “I think this is the right policy; For us, it means the state that takes care of our children.”

The Chinese government last week teen celebrity worship blow and fan clubs have warned that celebrity pursuit of followers online distorts the value of young people. of china Cyberspace Administration banned on Friday Sort celebrities by popularity.

Online gaming has been one of the most vibrant and profitable sectors of China’s internet industry, generating billions of dollars in revenue from players paying to participate in online missions, battles and adventures. But there are signs of increasing official pressure on companies to more strictly comply with Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s demands for cultural integration.

China’s Ministry of Education in April ordered online game companies to ensure that minors do not play from 10 pm every school night. In early August, the share prices of Tencent Holdings and other major Chinese video game companies fell hard after chinese newspaper They called their product “spiritual opium”. The article chose Tencent, the owner of “Honor of Kings”, a hugely popular game in China.

Chinese parents complained that children were constantly finding new ways to sneak past the limits of playtime. A report published in August said by the government-funded Beijing Children’s Legal Aid and Research Center. According to the report, many parents “reported that after their child became addicted to games, there were major changes in their temperament and personality, as if they had become another person.”

Tencent, which has already reduced the time minors can spend on “Honor of Kings”, said it will comply with the new restrictions. In its most recent financial statements, the company said that in the second quarter of 2021, players under the age of 16 accounted for just 2.6 percent of their gross revenue from Chinese games.

“Since 2017, Tencent has researched and implemented a variety of new technologies and functions for the protection of minors,” a Tencent spokesperson said in a statement. “This will continue as Tencent strictly adheres to and actively implements the latest requirements of the Chinese authorities.”

Raymond Zhong contributed to the reporting. Liu Yi contributed to the research.

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