China limits the time children can spend with video games to three hours a week.
One hour per day, only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. That is when those under 18 will be able to use video games in China, according to the new rules announced by the government of the Asian nation to combat what it considers a "spiritual opium" for its youth. As reported by the state agency Xinghua, the National Press and Publications Administration established a new series of regulations on Monday to limit minors' hours playing in front of the screens.
The new measures establish that they will only be able to play the three designated days between 8:00 PM and 9:00 PM, to which an extra hour is added, at the same time, on holidays. The regulations are part of a series of changes that the Chinese government has imposed in recent times to strengthen control over society, including key sectors of its economy, such as technology, education and property.
The new regulations:
Under the new measures, internet video game companies will be prohibited from providing services to minors in any way outside of those hours and on those days. They will also have to implement name and identity verification systems, following complaints that some minors use false documents to play as adults.And it is that previously, in rules established in 2019, the Chinese authorities limited playing time to an hour and a half a day and three hours on holidays.
The National Press and Publications Administration also indicated that it will increase the frequency and intensity of inspections of online gaming companies to ensure they comply with time limits and "anti-addiction systems." According to the regulator, the objective of the new measures is "to effectively protect the physical and mental health of minors."
"Adolescents are the future of our country. The protection of the physical and mental health of minors is related to the vital interests of the people and is related to the cultivation of the younger generation in the era of national rejuvenation," said an official to Xinhua.
Recently, the Chinese authorities have also tried to limit the power of tech giants such as Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings. Earlier this month, shares in the latter, the world's most profitable video game company by revenue, plummeted following numerous attacks by state media. Last July, the Economic Information Daily attacked video game companies on the internet, which is responsible for creating addiction among adolescents. In July, Tencent rolled out a facial recognition feature to detect children disguised as adults trying to circumvent time restrictions. Party officials raised their concerns about video games again earlier this year at the China Two Sessions, one of the most significant annual events on the government calendar.
According to state media, more than 62% of Chinese minors often play online, and 13.2% do so from mobile phones for more than two hours a day. Data from the analytics firm Newzoo estimates that the Chinese video game market will generate the US $ 45.6 billion in 2021, ahead of the United States.