Chinese Regulators Tell Kids They Can’t Play More Than 3 Hours of Video Games a Week
Beijing has just delivered a blow to the gaming industry, and a blow to Chinese children’s freedoms. Starting September 1, minors in China will be allowed to play video games (including those played on mobile devices) only from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. So: one hour per day, with a cap of three hours per week.
Former regulations had less restrictive caps, allowing an hour and a half of gaming per day with up to three hours allowed on holidays (for a total of 13.5 hours per week). It’s unclear how these new restrictions apply to console gaming, or whether parents could feasibly override these rules by allowing kids to use an adult’s gaming account. (Other workarounds, such as VPNs, could also potentially work.)
This applies to online games / platforms, which is technically every game officially released in China, but console platforms fall into a grey category.
Consoles do have parental controls, like the West, but there is no forced limit at this time.
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) August 30, 2021
The regulations—which require that people use their real names to register, instead of using anonymous accounts—state that they aim “to resolutely prevent minors from becoming addicted to video games, and to effectively protect their physical and psychological health.” This will allegedly “lead minors to form positive habits in the use of the internet.”
“Teenagers are the future of our motherland,” said one government spokesperson, according to the state-owned news agency Xinhua. “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.” (It’s no surprise that the Communist Party sees young people not as autonomous individuals but as resources to marshal, to extract from, to serve the interests
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