China is continuing to enforce harsh restrictions on how much time children can spend playing video games, now preparing to give them just one hour per day.
As ABC News reports, China has maintained such restrictions for the last several years in order to fight “Internet addiction.” In 2019, minors were given just 90 minutes per day on video games every weekday, and were forbidden from playing between 10:00 PM and 8:00 AM. In 2021, the restrictions were tightened to just one hour per day, and were only allowed on Fridays, weekends, and holidays.
As China’s Lunar New Year approaches, kids will be given four extra days to play games between January 21st and 27th.
The Chinese government also saw cooperation from video game companies in enacting such restrictions. Social media companies and game developers began setting up “youth mode” features in order to protect underaged children, which include such measures as use limits, payment controls, and age-appropriate content. Some even went so far as to implement real-name registration and facial recognition to avoid fraud.
Last November, after the restrictions had been in place for over one year, a government-aligned group called the Game Industry Group Committee issued its own report claiming that the restrictive measures had ultimately “basically resolved” the issue of so-called “Internet addiction.” The report said that over 75 percent of minors in China played games for even less time than the restrictions allowed.
Another report issued in September by gaming market intelligence firm Niko Partners determined that the total number of young gamers in China, which peaked at 122 million in 2020, had fallen to 82.6 million in 2022.