China Govt: Children banned from playing online video games for more than 3 hours per week

China banned children from playing online video games for more than 3 hours per week.

China has reportedly barred online gamers under the age of 18 from playing on weekdays and limited their play to just three hours most weekends.

According to a statement from Chinese media watchdog, Starting this week, minors will be allowed only an hour of play time between 8 pm and 9 pm on Friday, weekends and public holidays,

The policy is slated to take effect by September 1.

China has established extensive rules about minors and playing video games in the past, after blaming games for causing nearsightedness and addiction in youth. In 2019, the government announced that gamers under 18 had to stop playing between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m., and only game for 90 minutes on weekdays. In 2018, Beijing stopped approving video games for publication for nearly nine months, hurting the bottom line for massive Chinese companies like NetEase and Tencent.

“While China’s government has been positive on video games recently and has promoted segments such as esports and cloud gaming as key growth areas, gaming addiction among minors is viewed as a negative output of the popularity of video games in society,” said Lisa Cosmas Hanson, president at research firm Niko Partners. China’s esports scene has grown considerably over the years, and players in esports typically train for hours a day at a young age, the firm noted.

“Many parents said that teenagers’ addiction to online games seriously affected their studies, and physical and mental health, leading to a series of social problems, making many parents suffer,” said the unidentified representative, according to a report by Xinhua.

Tencent said in a statement on its official WeChat account that it firmly supports the new rule and will make every effort to follow it. It said that the company had been implementing ways to keep minors from being addicted to games since 2017.

It is possible for children to get around the ban if they were to use the accounts of adults, Niko pointed out. The government is asking for family cooperation to prevent that tactic.

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