Those living in China who are under the age of 18 will no longer be able to play online video games outside of new restricted hours.
Under 18s will only be able to play online games between 8pm and 9pm on Fridays, weekends and public holidays. The previous limit was 90 minutes per day, and three hours on holidays. This puts into perspective how restrictive the new one hour limit is on young Chinese gamers.
A media outlet representing the Chinese state described gaming as a ‘spiritual opium’. The harsher restrictions demonstrates the state’s concerns over gaming addiction in young children, and the impact they are having on their physical wellbeing and their educational prowess.
Chinese state media also announced that increased inspections of some of the largest China gaming companies, such as Tencent, in order to verify that the new regulations are being enforced.
Tencent in July announced that it was introducing facial recognition technologies in order to detect whether any children were playing online games between the hours of 10pm and 8am, in order to stop them from doing so.
However, Tencent feared that many of the children were presenting adult IDs from family or friends in order to mask their identity from the technology and avoid the gaming curfew.
The Chinese government is hoping the move will defer the younger population from playing games too often. The government have said the move will educate them with what they believe are ‘correct values’ in society.
The restriction has gained mixed reactions from both the younger populus and adults, with some describing the curfew as draconian or arbitrary.
Shares of major China gaming companies fell sharply after the curfew was announced by state media.