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China limits video gaming (“spiritual opium”) by teenagers to three hours a week

Tuesday, August 31st 2021 - 09:05 UTC
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Chinese authorities have become increasingly concerned about the impact of gaming, particularly worsening eyesight, passivity and online addiction Chinese authorities have become increasingly concerned about the impact of gaming, particularly worsening eyesight, passivity and online addiction

China has implemented strict regulations regarding video gaming by minors below 18, which will be limited to three hours a week to combat what authorities have described as the “spiritual opium”.

Beijing's regulator, the National Press and Publication Administration, NPPA, said that children could play video games Fridays and weekends between 20:00 and 21:00 hours. Exceptions for an additional hour are made on public holidays and school vacations. The latest announcement puts an end to the ninety minutes a day minors were allowed video gaming.

Chinese authorities have become increasingly concerned about the impact of gaming, particularly worsening eyesight, passivity and online addiction, and thus the need to end “spiritual opium”. Gaming companies are banned from offering services to minors in any form outside the set hours, including on cell phones.

Restrictions come as a major blow to the global gaming industry which has tens of millions of young players as clients, and China happens to be the world's largest market. The China Audio-Visual Video and Digital Publishing Association revenue in the first half of 2021 was equivalent to some US$ 20 billion.

The Beijing regulator, NPPA, said children will have to show an ID or identification document to have access to video gaming. No sanctions were described in the announcement.

“Teenagers are the future of our country, the protection of their physical and mental health is directly linked to the vital interests of the people, and is related to the youngest generation at a rejuvenating period of our country”, said an NPPA spokesperson quoted by the official news agency Xinhua.

Companies will have to stipulate and ensure their systems really verify the name of the teenager and the time spent video gaming, added the spokesperson.

It is estimated that 62,5% of Chinese teenagers are involved in video gaming and 13,2% spend over two hours during working days, according to official media releases in support of the measure.

Categories: Politics, International.
Tags: China, video games.

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