September 20, 2021

Chinese state media says online gaming for minors now limited to three hours per week



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People aged under 18 living in China will now only be allowed to play online games for three hours per week.

The new mandate will see minors only be allowed to play one hour of online games on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and on official holidays, according to state media outlet Xinhua.

The one hour of online game time for these days will also only be allowed from 8pm to 9pm.

The ban, issued by China’s National Press and Publication Administration (NAAP) on Monday evening, is aimed at preventing minors from becoming addicted to online gaming, the report said.

In issuing the ban, the gaming regulator reportedly called for online game providers to implement real-name registration and logins, saying online game providers should not allow minors to play online games if they fail to register and log in using their real identifications.

The NAAP also reportedly told Xinhua it would increase the frequency of its inspections on online gaming companies to ensure they implement time limit and anti-addiction systems.

Prior to the latest measures, Tencent at the start of the month had already announced further restrictions for how much minors could play its flagship game Honour of Kings as part of efforts to appease government concerns. In that restriction, Honour of Kings gamers under the age of 18 had their playing time limited to one hour on regular days and two hours on public holidays.

The expanded gaming ban is the latest among a flurry of moves China has made as part of its local crackdown on tech. In the area of online child protection alone, Beijing prosecutors have launched a civil public lawsuit against WeChat, accusing the company of not complying with laws focused on protecting minors, while the Cyberspace Administration of China passed a special action last month banning people under the age of 16 from appearing in content within online live-streaming and video platforms.

Beyond online child protection, the Chinese government has pushed through new personal data protection laws, punished 43 apps for illegally transferring user data, and ordered local food delivery platforms to provide riders with minimum wages. It has also removed Didi from Chinese app stores and placed it under cybersecurity review, slapped Alibaba with a record 18.2 billion yuan fine, and put Tencent on notice for collecting more user data than deemed necessary when offering services.

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