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Kids in China now restricted to just 3 hours of online gaming per week

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Regulators curb ‘spiritual opium’

Tencent To Limit Daily Playtime Of Online Game
A child plays an online mobile game.
Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images

Chinese gaming platforms like Tencent and NetEase must limit online gaming to minors to just three hours per week following new rules imposed by regulators on Monday, according to Bloomberg citing state media reports. The change is being made in response to growing concern over gaming addiction and a broader crackdown on China’s tech giants.

Children under the age of 18 will now be restricted to one hour of gaming from 8pm to 9pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; and on public holidays. That’s a change from the previous limit of 1.5 hours of online gameplay on most days. Gaming companies must restrict online game play outside those hours, according to Reuters, and must have a real name verification system in place to ensure the new rules are enforced.

Regulators say they’ll also work with parents and schools to help combat gaming addiction amongst Chinese youth.

The new rules issued today come a month after an article published by state media described online games as “spiritual opium.” Although the phrase was later removed, the tone of the article, especially in hindsight, left little doubt that state intervention was inevitable.