China fights video game addiction by limiting gameplay to three hours per week

To combat video game addiction among young people, China continues to put in place restrictions on the use of online games, considered highly addictive.

Online gaming platforms are no longer allowed to offer their games at any time

On Monday, August 30, China’s national news agency Xinhua reported on new changes regarding the Politics of video games. China’s National Press and Publishing Administration restricts access to video games for people under 18 on certain days and times: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and only between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., according to the report. Minors are also allowed to play on national holidays.

Increasingly restrictive measures

In 2019, China had already imposed a maximum online gambling time of 90 minutes maximum per day for minors, with a ban on gambling at night, between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. Real names and phone numbers were then also required for registrations on the platforms. Microtransactions were already restricted to a maximum amount ranging from $ 28 to $ 57, depending on the child’s age. At the beginning of August, Tencent was pinned for its very popular game “Honor of Kings”, a kind of “League of Legends”. The company then anticipated the government’s measures by tightening its conditions of use, with a maximum use of one hour per day for minors and two hours maximum during school holidays.

Real contact details to ensure players are not using fake IDs

To ensure compliance with the new restrictions, platforms must ensure that players use their real names to register, and must prevent people who do not use their real identity from logging in, reports Xinhua. Platforms like Instagram have also recently introduced the obligation to declare one’s age in order to be able to better protect minors with dedicated features. To verify that this information is correct, the social network is developing an AI capable of verifying this data, for example by scanning the publications for clues that could alert on a false declaration of age. Tencent, for its part, uses facial recognition to prevent under-18s from playing at night.

One hour of video games on non-school days, a reasonable limit to put in place outside of China?

While many young people spend several hours a day glued to a screen playing video games, supporters of “gaming” argue that gaming can also provide knowledge and develop certain skills, including strategy and reasoning games. A problem remains, however, that of the loss of the notion of time when playing. To be able to take advantage of the positive side of video games, a study from Rutgers University in New Brunswick in New Jersey indicates that one hour of video games a day has no impact on education.

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