China restricts access to online video games for children

New squeeze, times reduced to three hours a week for under 18s and only on certain days and times. Beijing does not give up its grip on the tech giants

Photo: via Unsplash

The China restricts still his online video game policy for the guys. The new rules announced these days will allow platforms like Tencent e NetEase to offer access to gaming to children under the age of 18 only for three hours a week (maximum one per day) on Friday, in the days of weekend, during the holidays and alone from 8 to 9 in the evening.

The news of these restrictions comes directly from the Chinese state press Xinhua, citing the government’s National Press and Publication Administration (Nppa). These rules represent a further step forward compared to a previous close decided in 2019. Underage gamers could so far go online an hour and a half per day and three during the holidays, but they couldn’t play from 10pm to 8am.

The new measures also require all gaming platforms to be linked to an anti-addiction system managed by State and that all users log in with a real identity. Controls will also be stepped up to ensure companies follow these guidelines. According to reports Ars Technica, these rules should also apply to offline video games, although it is not very clear how they could be applied.

Chinese authorities have long been concerned about gambling addiction and other online activities, which they consider harmful to young people. The Npp described a Xinhua the new restrictions as a “protection of the physical and mental health of minors “. A month ago, a Chinese state-run media outlet criticized this addiction by calling video games a “Spiritual opium”.

The response of the companies

In July, the Chinese gaming giant Tencent stated they are implementing facial recognition per prevent children to play between 10pm and 8am. After the announcement of the new and more stringent measures desired by the authorities, the company was quick to make it known that it is ready to follow the directives and improve the protection of minors.

Even though large numbers of young people play online in China, platforms can withstand this crackdown. According to reports the Wall Street Journal, in fact, the young players represent only a small percentage of revenue overall of these companies. Tencent, for example, told the American newspaper that only 2.6% of its gross earnings, from April to June, came from Chinese players under the age of 16. Users between the ages of 16 and 18 are already not allowed to spend more than 400 yuan, about $ 60, on video games every month.

This year, the Chinese authorities have place many limits to the expansion of the technology sector of the country, in response to concerns about monopolies, the power gained by companies in the sector and the possible creation of spaces for dissent against the Chinese Communist Party.

Categories:   Internet