China bans kids from playing video games more than three hours per week starting September 1

Chinese government authorities are hoping to combat the growing rate of video game addiction in their country by limiting the playing time for minors to three hours per week.

The rules: Children under 18 will now only be able to play from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays, weekends and on public holidays beginning Sept. 1, AP News reported. China’s National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) released the news on Monday. 

  • Prior restrictions from 2019 allowed minors to play for an hour and a half per day, with three hours set for public holidays.
  • Restrictions apply to games on any devices including phones, according to Reuters
  • “Teenagers are the future of our motherland,” Xinhua state news agency quoted a spokesperson for the NPPA as saying. “Protecting the physical and mental health of minors is related to the people’s vital interests, and relates to the cultivation of the younger generation in the era of national rejuvenation.”

Enforcement: Gaming companies will have to abide by the new rules, ensuring no services are provided to minors outside of the permitted hours and that real-name verification systems are in place. 

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  • Some on Chinese social media have expressed doubt as to how effective the new measures would be, while others commented on how strict the new rules are.
  • “They will just use their parents’ logins, how can they control it?” one Weibo comment read. 
  • Young gamers could also find ways to bypass the country’s restrictions by signing up on foreign servers, TechCrunch reported. 

China’s gaming industry: The rules are part of an ongoing government crackdown against tech and gaming giants, including Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings, amid concerns of their growing hold on society. 

  • Within the past month, a state-affiliated news outlet referred to video games as “spiritual opium” in an article that pushed for more restrictions on the industry. 
  • Tencent’s stock price is reportedly down 0.6% at 465.80 Hong Kong dollars ($59.82) on Monday upon the announcement of the new rules. 
  • NetEase, another Chinese gaming company, has seen its shares down 8% compared to its closing price yesterday.  
  • Regulators added that, in order to curb gaming addiction, parents and teachers would also need to be involved.

Featured Image via Uriel Soberanes

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