Arts & Entertainment | September 1, 2021 11:04 am

China to Limit the Number of Hours Minors Can Spend Playing Video Games Online

Three hours weekly, with no gaming Monday through Thursday

Video games
Do kids play video games too frequently? One government sure thinks so.

In 2018, a study from McAfee offered a revealing statistic about kids and video games. According to the study’s results, kids were playing video games for at least 15 hours each week on average. Not surprisingly, this number increased during the pandemic, with quarantine limiting the available options for recreation. And while there are plenty of arguments to be made in favor of video games offering plenty of benefits to players of all ages, it’s also not surprising to see some in positions of power looking at the data in question and seeing it as a worrying sign of excess.

Which brings us to this week’s news, via The Wall Street Journal, that the Chinese government has imposed limitations on how much time kids can spend playing video games online every week.

The regulation applies to everyone under the age of 18. Playing games online between Monday and Thursday is out entirely; for the remaining three days, online gaming is permissible only between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. (That also applies for holidays.) This is set to go into effect on today (Sept. 1).

Keith Zhai’s report at the Wall Street Journal offers some additional information on the regulation: namely, that online games will be monitored by a system from the National Press and Publication Administration.

This is the latest salvo in a conflict between the Chinese government and video games. Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that the Beijing-based Economic Information Daily, a state-run newspaper, ran a piece broadly denouncing video games, arguing that gaming was “destroying a generation.” All of which gives the impression of someone shouting at the kids to get off his lawn, except that they’re also capable of making policy that influences over a billion people — and can have a seismic effect on certain tech stocks.