To curb internet addiction, China institutes video game curfew

Taking the nanny state to a familiar level, Chinese authorities have implemented a blanket ban on video games past the hour of ten pm. Boo.

 

 

China is enforcing a ban on children under the age of 18 playing online games past 10 pm and before 8 am.

In addition, children will have a capped game time of 90 minutes per weekday and 3 hours on weekends and public holidays. The new law was launched by Beijing last week in an effort to deal with China’s gaming addiction crisis among its youth.

Over 14% of China’s minors have been found to be addicted to the internet, and much of the epidemic can be attributed to online gaming. Internet addiction has become so severe in China that there are reports of some children spending up to 17 hours online.

In April, the World Health Organisation officially classified video game addiction as a clinical disorder. China has adopted this classification as an increasing number of youths dispel their studies, social lives and general responsibilities to spend time online and play video games.

Physical and mental wellbeing are not the only causes for concern; household finances are at stake. An alarming amount of savings are being lost, often unknowingly, through young children purchasing in-game currency and content with their parents’ coin.

To combat this, China has also ruled that gaming companies cannot allow users under the age of eight to play games that feature in-game purchases, and minors above the age of eight have a cap on monthly game expenditure.

 

In addition, children will have a capped game time of 90 minutes per weekday and 3 hours on weekends and public holidays. The new law was launched by Beijing last week in an effort to deal with China’s gaming addiction crisis among its youth.

 

To enforce these changes, Chinese gamers will have to register their ID with their service provider if they wish to game online. Gaming companies and service providers that do not comply will see their licence revoked.

Australia too has seen glimpses of how detrimental gaming addiction can be. Psychologist Brad Marshall told the ABC that an increasing number of his patients are primary school children who have an unhealthy relationship with gaming, and the number has been growing exponentially each year for the past half-decade.

He has noted that a child’s destructive bond with gaming needs to be dealt with at a young age as physical violence becomes increasingly likely if a child’s addiction extends into their teen years.

Is gaming all bad though? Academics at the Queensland University of Technology claim young people can benefit greatly from online gaming, citing that the activity fosters deeper connections between friends, and gamers can accumulate social capital.

Their research has also found that games can instil a feeling of competency in users, especially games that involve a great deal of autonomy.

 

 

 

 

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