China Restricts Kids Online Gaming
The vast majority of children and adolescents in the United States play video games. Although many children play them in moderation, without adverse consequences, others become obsessed with gaming. Some games might improve kids’ hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and problem-solving skills. Video games that require kids to move or manipulate the game through their own physical movement can even get sedentary kids moving — but not as much as if they played outside or did sports.
Research shows that too much gaming can be linked to social and behavioral problems, such as peer conflicts, poor school performance, and reduced social abilities. Furthermore, in 2018, the World Health Organization announced “gaming disorder” as a new mental health condition included in the 11th edition of its International Classification of Diseases (ICD). The ICD is the international standard for reporting diseases and health conditions.
According to a children’s health poll from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll, 86 percent of parents believe that their adolescent children are spending excessive time playing video games, with children spending at least 3 hours a day gaming.
Gaming Restrictions for Minors
Like many aspects of raising kids, when it comes to video games, the healthiest approach is moderation. Having clear and consistent guidelines related to video games can help prevent excessive playing, but it can be challenging for parents to limit the amount of time their kids spend playing video games.
China, the world’s largest video gaming market, is tackling this issue. The Chinese government recently announced new rules that limit online video game playing for young people to three hours a day. Under the new rules, people under the age of 18 will only be allowed to play video games between 8 pm and 9 pm on Fridays, weekends, and public holidays. Previously, the limit was 90 minutes on weekdays and three hours on weekends.
The move comes amid growing concern in the country over gaming addiction. Authorities said that the restrictions were put in place to help prevent young people from becoming addicted to video games and protect minors’ healthy growth. The Chinese government has worried for years about young people becoming addicted to games. Gaming consoles were banned for around 14 years until 2014 and treatment centers have been set up in the country for people thought to have developed gaming disorders. In 2018, Chinese officials also expressed concerns that gaming might be causing rising rates of eyesight problems among young people.
Gaming Companies to Take Responsibility for Implementing the Rules
The new rules place the responsibility for implementing the policy on the gaming industry, limiting their ability to serve minors outside of designated hours. Companies providing online game services to minors will not be allowed to provide services to users who haven’t logged in with real-name registration, preventing them from simply remaining ignorant of their users’ backgrounds. Users must go through an ID verification system during the signup flow, which means that you can only have one account associated with your real name.
To ensure compliance, the NPPA (Chinese agency regulating online gaming) is placing stringent measures on online gaming companies, requiring them to prove they have effective identification systems in place. The number and intensity of inspections will also be increased to make sure they follow the new limits. The agency also said it will increase measures to punish gaming companies that violate the rules.
Despite these restrictions, experts believe that breaking gaming habits among China’s youth will be difficult. China’s children have become increasingly adept at skirting previous restrictions through playing offline games, using virtual private networks (VPNs) to access foreign games, or signing in under the names of adult family members.
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