China To Ban Online Gaming for Children on Weekdays

Photo by Sean Do via Unplash

China To Ban Online Gaming for Children on Weekdays

By Movieguide® Staff

China recently announced a countrywide restriction on the number of hours children are allowed to play video games per week.

A Chinese news agency reported that the National Press and Publication Administration claim that the new rules restrict children 18-years-old and younger from playing online games during the week and only allow for three hours on weekends.

The breakdown also states that online gaming will be restricted from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. for those 18-years-old or younger on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. According to the announcement, additional hours would be allowed for statutory public holidays.

Current regulations note that children can play for 90 minutes a day and three hours on holidays.

Variety reported:

The NPPA puts the burden of responsibility on companies like Tencent and NetEase Games by requiring them to enforce real-name usage, to disallow any unregistered players, and to come up with systems that manage tens of millions of individual players’ usage.

In a speech in March, China’s President Xi Jinping called gaming addiction among teenagers a “social problem.” Earlier this month, the Economic Information Daily, a publication affiliated with Xinhua described online gaming as “spiritual opium.” Its explicit reference to Tencent sent shares of the gaming, social media and entertainment giant spinning.

However, Tencent executives denied the accusations, claiming that their rules and regulations were more strict than statutory mandates. The company also noted that only 2.6% of its revenue came from teenagers playing games.

“Many parents have said that the gaming addiction problem among teens and children has gravely affected their ability to learn and study as well as their physical and mental health, even causing a series of societal problems,” the NAAP said, according to Xinhua, a Chinese news agency.

The new rules align with the Chinese Government’s focus on socialism regarding tech and entertainment to reduce competition.

Variety added:

While many of these appear well-intentioned, the cumulative impact of so many new rules in such a short time has weighed heavily on China’s tech giants. On the recent earnings call, Tencent warned that regulators are by no means finished.

Tencent is the world’s largest gaming company by revenue. It owns “League of Legends” developer Riot Games, an 84% stake in Supercell (“Clash of Clans”), 80% of New Zealand’s Grinding Gear Games (“Path of Exile”), 40% of Epic Games, 14.5% of Glu Mobile, 11.5% of Bluehole, and 5% stakes in Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft and Paradox Interactive. And it has been allowed to keep expanding through acquisition even as China’s regulators have weighed against the gaming, overseas acquisitions, and too big to fail corporations.

In addition, the Chinese Communist Party is implementing China’s stricter policies on entertainment in previously autonomous Hong Kong.

Movieguide® recently reported:

Hong Kong will now adopt China’s stricter censorship laws regarding its media and entertainment, the South China Morning Post reported.

Under the new rules—which have been submitted to the Film Censorship Ordinance—censorship will affect a much broader selection of movies and shows in Hong Kong and also increase the penalties for any violations.

The move is yet another example of the encroaching Chinese-style Government that seeks to upheave Hong Kong’s history of autonomy, politically and socially.

While governmental overreach is apparent in China’s new policies, Movieguide® notes the benefits of media discernment when it comes to video games and child development.

Read Also: Study: Cut Down on Social Media and Video Games, Increase Teens’ Focus at School

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