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China Limits Children To Three Hours Of Video Games Per Week

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China Limits Children To Three Hours Of Video Games Per Week

China has banned children from playing video games for more than three hours per week.

The new rule means under-18s will only be permitted to play video games for one hour a day, between 8pm-9pm - and exclusively on Fridays, weekends and public holidays, according to the Xinhua state news agency.

The move is designed to protect the physical and mental health of young people - although no doubt the announcement of the ban will have done nothing for the mental health of children in the short term.

China is cracking down on children's gaming time. Credit: PA
China is cracking down on children's gaming time. Credit: PA
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The restrictions - which apply to all forms of devices - will also come as a blow to the gaming industry.

The rules were published today (Monday 30 August) by the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA), which said action needed to be taken to tackle 'youth video game addiction'.

A spokesperson said: "Teenagers are the future of our motherland.

"Protecting the physical and mental health of minors is related to the people's vital interests, and relates to the cultivation of the younger generation in the era of national rejuvenation."

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The rules represent a new, firmer clampdown on children's gaming time. Back in 2019, China limited under-18s to 90 minutes any day of the week, and three hours a day on holidays.

Rui Ma, a US-based China tech analyst, told The Guardian that further regulations could follow.

She said: "Beijing's crackdowns on the gaming industry have been fairly consistent about protecting minors. Historically, the authorities have always had the intention to curb exposure from what they perceive to be a highly-addictive habit.

"It wouldn't surprise me if there were further regulations in the months to come to protect minors from other harmful activities on the internet."

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China is cracking down on tech companies. Credit: PA
China is cracking down on tech companies. Credit: PA

The move is the latest in a regulation spree across the nation's tech and internet sector.

Last week, it was announced that Chinese regulators are to exercise greater control over the algorithms used by the country's technology firms to personalise and recommend content.

The country's internet watchdog, the Cyberspace Administration of China, released a draft proposal of 'algorithm recommendation management regulations' aimed at managing how technology companies use algorithms when providing services to consumers.

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The move aims to strengthen data privacy and consumer rights, as well as curtailing anti-competitive practices, in order to curb the outsized influence of technology companies.

Under the draft regulations, companies must disclose the basic principles, purpose and operation mechanism of its algorithm recommendation services, and must include convenient options for users to turn these off.

Algorithms should also not be used in ways that may cause addictive behaviours in users, or induce them to spend excessively - although it is not yet clear how this would be enforced.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: World News, China

Jake Massey
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