Why China is Restricting Student's Game Time

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

On September 1, 2021, China is imposing a new regulation to restrict video game play times for those of age 18 and below. The new policy stated that minors will now only be able to play from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Fridays, weekends, and public holidays.

The regulations were implemented and approved by the National Press and Publication Administration of China, which did not respond to requests for comments from journalists. The government plans to enforce these new restrictions to reduce “nearsightedness and addiction” in youthful people.

Chinese state media reported that about 63 percent of Chinese minors play online games “often”. And about 13 percent of underage mobile game users are believed to play them for more than 5 hours a day on weekdays. Time that could be allocated to more “productive” work.

In place of video games, the government wants children to focus on their studies as they are concerned that young people may be too addicted to the games. The government and gaming companies plan to enforce the restriction by requiring minors to register for games with their real names.

Some game companies have already begun to use a real name-based registration system to limit playtime, such as Tencent, a technology conglomerate asking for real names with its wildly successful mobile hit, “Honor of Kings.” Tencent said in a statement on its official WeChat account that it firmly supports the new rule. It was also stated that the company had been implementing ways to keep minors from being addicted to games since 2017.

Some parents have shown their support for these new policies as many have claimed that their child has shown signs of disrespect to them ever since they started playing these games for an extensive period of time.

Some have stated that their children are losing valuable study time due to their addiction to video games, causing them to do poorly in school and never socialize with their families.

Chinese Netizens, however, are furious at the Chinese government for oppressing the youths in their community and have started to criticize their methods on multiple social media outlets such as Bili Bili and Reddit. Video games are a way for young people to release stress from their studies. Young people have always faced pressure from their parental figures to always do well in school and video games are a way for them to detach themselves from their stressful lives and have overall improved their mental health.

One gamer questioned whether officials understood the importance of gaming for young Chinese citizens. "This group of grandfathers and uncles who make these rules and regulations, have you ever played games?” the user asked on the Chinese messaging service Weibo. “Do you understand that the best age for e-sports players is in their teens?" “ Do you know how this will affect the quality of our community? We will have a disadvantage compared to other E-sport teams from other countries now.”

However minors can still get around the ban very easily if they were to use the accounts of adults in their family. China is having difficulties in developing a strategy in tackling this problem for both adults and minors, asking for family cooperation from registering to prevent people from using such tactics. This may be a sign that even the government knows that it will be hard to regulate a policy like this.

At the time of writing, there has been no official response from the Publication Administration of China for the criticism that they have received in implementing the policies, and only time can tell if there will be any response to the backlash.

In conclusion, China's restrictions on Video games will surely have a detrimental effect on the youths mental health as video games are one of the few ways for them to release stress from their everyday life. However, China claims that the restrictions will now allow children to focus more on their academics as there are many parents who support the government’s move.

Chinese netizens hope that their voices will be heard and that the government will be more lenient on the restrictions to allow youths access to these games so well loved around the country.


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