The Chinese government bans minors from playing online games from Monday to Thursday, fearing that children could become addicted to games.
On Monday, the country’s National Press and Publication Administration released the new rules, which only allow minors to play online games on Fridays, weekends and public holidays. But even then, they can only play for an hour, from 8 to 9 p.m.
The new restrictions apply to Chinese citizens under the age of 18 and take effect immediately. Additionally, all online game providers must follow the rules. To do this, China has already required gaming companies to implement real-name identification systems. This requires consumers logging into a game to first provide a cell phone number, state-issued ID, or even undergo a facial scan.
As a result, gaming companies should theoretically know the age of all their customers. Companies that fail to implement age restrictions face potential regulatory crackdowns, the Chinese government has warned.
The new rules go beyond the limitations of video games for minors. In 2019, the country limited underage playing time to just 1.5 hours on weekdays and three hours on weekends. Gambling in the night from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. was prohibited.
In an interview with China’s state-run press, the country’s National Administration of Press and Publication called the 2019 rules an important ground for tackling underage gambling addiction. However, the government agency says more parents demanded a stronger crackdown.
“Recently, many parents have reported that some teenagers’ addiction to online games has seriously affected their normal study life and physical and mental health, and even caused a series of social problems, causing many parents to suffer unspeakably. and become a pain in the hearts of the people,” the National Press and Publication Administration said in the interview.
The new rules are certainly a nightmare for the country’s children. But despite the latest restrictions, there have always been ways around China’s past attempts to crack down on video games. One avenue was to buy from China’s gray video game market, where local resellers bring in Xbox and PlayStation consoles purchased overseas. These consoles are set to follow Hong Kong, US or Japanese gaming laws, so owners should be able to play on them for as long as they want.
The news comes as the South Korean government is rolling back restrictions that were supposed to prevent children under the age of 17 from playing games between midnight and 6 a.m. , but it was largely ineffective, partly because it doesn’t apply to mobile games.