China cuts online video gaming time for children to one hour

31 August 2021, 07:08 | Updated: 31 August 2021, 07:18

The new rule will limit children in China to an hour of online gaming time
The new rule will limit children in China to an hour of online gaming time. Picture: Alamy
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

China has cut the amount of time children can spend playing online video games to one hour on Fridays, weekends and holidays.

The strict new rule will mean anyone under the age of 18 will only be allowed to play between 8pm and 9pm on those days, Beijing's video game regulator said.

State-run news agency Xinhua was told by the National Press and Publication Administration that it had instructed gaming companies to prohibit minors from playing outside this time slot.

Firms will also be subject to increased checks to ensure they are enforcing the policy.

It comes just weeks after a state media outlet described online video games as "spiritual opium".

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Previously, children had been limited to playing online games for 90 minutes per day, rising to three hours on holidays.

Companies will also need to ensure they put real name verification systems in place to ensure children cannot beat the system after it was reported that some were using adult IDs to bypass the previous rules.

The purpose of the new measure is to “effectively protect the physical and mental health of minors”, the regulator said.

It also urged Chinese gaming companies to “always prioritise the social good and actively respond to societal concerns”.

The decision comes amid ongoing concerns in Beijing about the impact of excessive gaming on minors.