China Dramatically Reduces the Time Minors Can Play Online

Chinese regulators reduced, this Monday (30), the time that players under 18 can spend in online games: to 1 hour on Fridays, weekends and holidays. This was in response to growing concerns about gambling addiction, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The measure is expected to impact around 110 million players.

With the change, young people will have practically only 3 hours of gambling per week. The rules, released by China’s National Press and Publication Administration, state that users under the age of 18 can only play from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm local time on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as well as on public holidays. Previously, the total period allowed for minors was three hours on weekends and holidays, and 1.5 hours on other days of the week.

inspection of rules

Online gaming companies will be restricted from providing gaming services to minors in any way outside of these hours. To do so, they need to ensure they install real-name verification systems, according to the agency that oversees the country’s video game market.

The frequency and intensity of enforcement at online gaming companies will be increased to ensure they are establishing time limits and anti-addiction systems.

widespread addiction

New online games must be approved by Chinese authorities before being offered to children in the country.New online games must be approved by Chinese authorities before being offered to children in the country.Source: Freepik/pvproductions/Reproduction

In July, an article from Economic Information Daily, a Chinese state-run publication, said that online gaming addiction among children is “widespread” and could negatively impact their growth. The text was deleted a few hours after publication but brought down Tencent and NetEase shares.

The article said that by 2020, more than half of Chinese children were nearsighted, and online games were affecting their education. The feeling expressed in the text is not so new. The Chinese government has long been concerned about the impact of video games on minors.

In 2018, Beijing froze new game approvals due to concerns that the games were affecting young people’s eyesight. In China, online games require the approval of regulators, which eventually leads to cases of censorship, as in the case of PUBG Mobile, which has a special version in the country called Game for Peace.