Sorry Kids, China’s video game regulator has said that online gamers under 18 will only be allowed to play for an hour on Fridays, weekends, and holidays.
The National Press and Publication Administration told state-run news agency Xinhua that game-playing would be only allowed between 8 pm to 9 pm.
It also instructed gaming companies to prevent children from playing outside these times.
Earlier this month, a state media outlet branded online games “spiritual opium.”
The regulator said that inspections of online gaming companies would also increase to check that the time limits are being enforced.
Earlier rules had limited children’s online game-playing to 90 minutes per day, rising to three hours on holidays.
Sorry Kids, China bans video games for kids.
China has a new rule for hundreds of millions of young gamers: No online video games during the school week and one hour a day on Fridays, weekends, and public holidays.
China on Monday issued strict new measures aimed at curbing what authorities describe as youth videogame addiction, which they blame for a host of societal ills, including distracting young people from school and family responsibilities.
The new regulation, unveiled by the National Press and Publication Administration, will ban minors, defined as those under 18 years of age, from playing online video games entirely between Monday and Thursday. On the other three days of the week and public holidays, they will be only permitted to play between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the new rules affect video games as a whole. Online gaming is mentioned specifically, which could mean that solo games won’t be restricted going forward. Similarly, it’s unclear whether console and foreign games will have to implement the new real-name-based registration system.
It will also tempt some young gamers to circumvent the restrictions by signing up on a foreign server. However, it’s also worth noting that adult players will still be able to play 24/7.
Following the news, Tencent issued a statement. “Tencent expressed its strong support and will make every effort to implement the relevant requirements of the Notice as soon as possible,” the company says.
As Bloomberg noticed, NetEase shares are currently down 8% compared to yesterday’s closing price. NetEase is another popular Chinese game development company, and its activities aren’t as diversified as Tencent’s activities.
Can they stop kids from gaming?
China had already limited the length of time under-18s could access online games to three hours a day during holidays and 1.5 hours on other days.
Gaming companies in China restrict access services outside those hours by using real name verification systems that require a user’s official ID to log in.
China’s regulator said it would increase the frequency and intensity of inspections for online gaming companies to ensure they were putting time limits and anti-addiction systems in place.
But some Chinese gamers told AFP that they had found simple ways to sidestep the rules.
“Using an adult’s account, I play two to three hours a day and of course after 10 pm,” said a 17-year-old player who wished to remain anonymous.
The Bottom Line
In China, people under 18 have their gaming time cut to just three hours each week – one hour on Friday, one on Saturday, and one on Sunday, from 8 to 9 p.m.
That’s according to the Chinese government, as reported by the South China Morning Post. The move enacts even stricter time limits on gaming time for kids in a country that already limits gaming time to just an hour and a half daily.
China’s biggest gaming companies, Tencent and NetEase, impose restrictions directly through their respective login systems. Users can only log in using their real names, and they must register all online games through China’s state-run anti-addiction program.
The new rules, China’s government said, are intended to curb “gaming addiction.”
The World Health Organization first recognized an addictive behavior pattern known as “gaming addiction disorder” in 2018. It characterized someone suffering from the disorder as exhibiting “significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”