China prohibits children from playing online games for more than 3 hours a week

Imagine if your parents restricts you from playing games for more than three hours a day, it would be outrageous right? In China, kids and teens under the age of 18 years old will only be allowed to play online games for up to three hours per week only. This rules were published on monday by China’s National Press and Publication Administration.
This move is a blow to the country’s gaming giants like Tencent, which have dealt with an onslaught of regulation this year in areas from anti-monopoly to data protection. That has spooked investors and dented the value of Chinese tech stocks.
According to the translation notice about the new rules, people under the age of 18 will only be allowed to play video games one hour a day between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. weekends and legal holidays. The agency says these rules are a way to safeguard children’s physical and mental health.
The rules will apply to companies that offer online game services to minors and limiting their ability to serve those users outside of the specified hours. The companies also will not be allowed to provide services to users who haven’t logged in with real-name registration, preventing them from simply remaining ignorant to their users’ backgrounds.
The latest rules from the NPPA significantly reduce the amount of time minors can play online games. Under 2019 rules, people under 18 were allowed to play games for 1½ hours a day on most days.
Tencent said in an explanation that it will execute the new necessities and that it upholds the new standards. The Chinese gaming goliath has taken measures to pre-empt the controllers as of late. In July, Tencent acquainted a necessity for gamers with do a facial acknowledgment check on their telephone to confirm in case they are a grown-up.
“You have to tie your real ID to your account. And Tencent actually makes you scan your face if you’re playing late at night for more than a set period of time. So even if your ID says you’re an adult, if you’re playing late at night, they’ll assume that you’re a minor unless you scan your face.”
Regulators say they’ll also work with parents and schools to help combat gaming addiction amongst Chinese youth.
Such intrusive regulation, especially as it affects adults as well as children, would be unacceptable in many countries.
Beijing has long been concerned about gaming addiction among young Chinese. Gaming consoles were banned for around 14 years until 2014. And a state-affiliated publication published an article this month branding online gaming as “opium” and calling for further restrictions. The article was taken down and later republished with a new headline and references to “opium” has been removed. But it still raised concern among investors that further gaming restrictions could come.
This month, Tencent warned it expected further regulation but was confident it could be compliant.

Updated: September 7, 2021 — 8:52 am

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