China limits video game time for teenagers to three hours a week

The rules shift is an attempt to curb the effects of the games described as "spiritual opium"

Updated: August 31, 2021 - 12:20pm

China has newly imposed a rule that will prevent those under-18 from playing video games for more than three hours  a week. The rules, released by The National Press and Publication Administration, say that the updated social intervention was needed as a way to lessen the effects of what has been described as "spiritual opium."

Chinese children and teenagers will nw be barred from online gaming during the week, and are limited to one hour a day on weekend and holiday evenings. The new rules additionally set the singular hour of game play to occur between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. 

"Recently many parents have reported that game addiction among some youths and children is seriously harming their normal study, life and mental and physical health," wrote the administration.

One unnamed NPPA spokesperson told a state-run outlet that"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."

Restrictions apply to all gaming devices including cell phones, which is a massive blow to the global gaming industry, for which China is the world's most lucrative market. 

The gaming industry has become one of China's most colorful and profitable online sectors, generating billions a year, surging past the value of the U.S. industry. The new rules are part of an effort by Beijing to tighten control on Chinese society, including major sectors of its economy, education system, and tech industry. 

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