Since 2005, the Chinese government has sought to eliminate gaming addiction in young children and teenagers. This goal has led to policies limiting when minors can play online, and for how long. Today, the National Press and Publication Administration (which regulates video games in China) issued their strictest ruling yet, limiting online gaming for those under 18 to just one hour, and only on weekends and legal holidays.
China restricts online gaming for minors
While young players already had their online time restricted before, today’s ruling reduces it to nearly nothing. Previously, minors could play online games for up to 90 minutes per day, and three hours on holidays. But beyond that, this new rule restricts the time of day as well. That “one hour” is specifically 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm. If a young player happens to be busy at that time, or if their parents don’t allow them to play games that close to bedtime, then their online gaming time is eliminated altogether.
To ensure this policy is followed, China has “a real name identification system which checked user IDs in real time against a national citizen database provided by the Ministry of Public Security.” As NikoPartners explains in their analysis, this was implemented in 2019 when the previous restrictions were put in place.
However, it must be noted that this new online gaming restriction is not a law. Rather it is a policy that is being enforced on the gaming companies themselves, and parents are being asked to comply. It’s possible to circumvent these time limits by allowing a child to log in on a parent’s account. Even so, there are measures being taken against this kind of thing, too. For example, Tencent has facial recognition software designed to catch minors playing after curfew.