China’s national video game regulator The National Press and Publication Administration announced this past Monday that they’ll be banning children from playing video games Monday through Thursday and further limiting them to four hours of playtime on Fridays, weekends, and holidays. This policy went into effect last Wednesday. This regulation comes as a result of the Chinese government’s blaming video games for causing nearsightedness and addiction in youths. This is also not the first time China has restricted children’s ability to play video games as, in 2019, they banned the playing of video games by minors between the hours of 10 p.m and 8 a.m and restricted the amount of time children could play video games during weekdays to 90 minutes. The Chinese government intends to enforce the new playtime restrictions by way of requiring minors to register games under their real names and requiring video game companies to implement software that asks for said real names. China’s government has also expressed animosity towards video game publishers in the past. One such example being their 2018 nearly nine-month-long prohibition on the approval of video games. This being incentive for video game creators to implemented the aforementioned software. Some game companies like Tencent have already begun asking for user’s real names. Children can notably circumvent the software that’d restrict their playing games by simply using the gaming accounts of adults. It is for this reason that the Chinese government asks for family cooperation. The Chinese government has been implementing ways to prevent video game addiction in youth since 2018. Despite this, the government has also promoted e-sports and cloud gaming the former of the two incentivizing a video game training regimen that begins at a young age. China’s youths are also banned from spending more than 400 yuan (about $62) a month on games. Last week South Korea announced it would get rid of similar regulations that saw people under 16 banned from playing video games between midnight and 6 a.m. Console gaming in China was banned for more than a decade leading up to 2015. This led the Chinese populous to gravitate towards PC and mobile gaming. Companies like Nintendo and Sony are attempting to introduce their consoles into the market but are still experiencing “minuscule” sales because of this.
This article interests me because, while I was aware that the Chinese government was oppressive I didn’t know that they had and were reinforcing a stance on the hours during which children could play video games. Beyond that I think it’s interesting that a government as oppressive as China’s still can’t get around the fact that people can just use other people’s accounts to get around the playtime hours they’re trying to enforce. I also find it odd that the government is pro-e-sports; almost as if they expect and are promoting this illegal practice.
Liao, Shannon. “China Restricts Young People to Playing Video Games Three Hours a Week.” Spokesman.com, The Spokesman-Review, 3 Sept. 2021, http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2021/sep/05/china-restricts-young-people-to-playing-video-game/.