Parents Praise Regulations Overcome ‘Unhealthy’ Gaming for Children in China

China has laid down a new set of regulations that limit the time children can devote to playing online games. The new regulations are part of a campaign to ensure young people don’t spend too much time in entertainment. Parents welcomed the new rule, which limits minors from playing three hours of online games per week.

Two years ago, Huang felt that his 13-year-old son had become a different person when he became addicted to playing video games. Initially, the son depended on the internet like most of his peers. But once into his teens, his son turned to video games to relieve stress, and gradually became addicted.

“He looks at his cellphone screen while eating, while playing with friends. He is always looking at his cellphone no matter what he is doing,” he explained.

Huang felt his son become more interested and was even carried away by his cell phone. He was sad because his son then refused to do his homework or go to school. When at home, the son often quarreled with his parents, and the quarrels were violent.

In December 2019, Huang who lives in Kunming finally sent his son to an addiction rehabilitation center in Beijing.

Students play online games inside the subway in Beijing, Tuesday, September 14, 2021.

Students play online games inside the subway in Beijing, Tuesday, September 14, 2021.

Like Huang, many more parents in China are worried about their children’s health and are working hard to stop video game addiction. But that may not be necessary anymore.

New regulations imposed on online gaming companies went into effect earlier this month, limiting the time per week to just three hours per week of playing online games, one hour each between 20 and 21 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The new regulations are a campaign to prevent children from spending too much time in entertainment that communist authorities deem unhealthy. It also includes what officials call an “unreasonable fan culture” – a culture of worshiping celebrities.

These restrictions reflect growing concerns about gaming addiction among children. One state media called online gaming a “spiritual opium,” referring to a past era when drug addiction was widespread in China.

“Adolescents are the future of the homeland, protecting the physical and mental health of minors is in the vital interests of the people, and in cultivating newcomers in an era of national rejuvenation,” the Press and Publication Administration said in a statement released along with the regulation. -new rules. This refers to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s campaign to ensure a healthier society for a stronger China.

Online game fans surf at an internet cafe in Beijing, China, September 10, 2021. (Photo: AFP)

Online game fans surf at an internet cafe in Beijing, China, September 10, 2021. (Photo: AFP)

Tao Ran, founder of the China Adolescent Psychological Development Base, which specializes in treating internet addiction says, “Video games alienate them and make them live in the internet, digital and virtual worlds. While living in the virtual world, they don’t finish school, they can’t fit in in the real world.”

Such children have no social interactions and cannot have normal lives, and they become useless people, said Tao, who has spent nearly 20 years caring for children with internet or video game addiction, including son Huang.

According to a Chinese government report, in 2018 an estimated one in 10 minors was addicted to the internet. Places for diagnosing and treating the problem among children have sprung up.

Huang’s son’s addiction was treated after eight months of treatment. Her life is now back to normal in Kunming.

The responsibility for ensuring that children play within a certain time limit lies largely with Chinese gaming companies such as NetEase and Tencent, whose popular mobile game, “Honor of Kings”, is played by tens of millions of people in the country.

Online gaming fans play at an internet cafe in Beijing, September 10, 2021. (AFP)

Online gaming fans play at an internet cafe in Beijing, September 10, 2021. (AFP)

Companies such as Tencent have set up real-name registration systems to prevent younger players from exceeding playing time limits and include facial recognition checks that require users to verify their identities.

Based on real-name registration, the company can restrict access to underage users.

Parents are generally happy with the implementation of the new rules. This relief, among others, was expressed by Qiu Fuhua, whose son plays the game Honor of Kings every day after homework, and can play seven to eight hours per day on weekends.

While Shi, who also supports the new restrictions, argues, the ultimate responsibility lies with parents. “If you don’t want them to make mistakes, you have to take responsibility, direct them, and give them positive energy,” says Shi. [uh/lt]

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