China tightened its online gaming regulations, allowing youth to play only one hour on weekdays and holidays. The country’s National Press and Publication Administration released this notification in August 2021.
According to this new policy, gaming enthusiasts under 18 can play online games for only one hour a day (8 to 9 pm) on Fridays, weekends, and holidays.
Earlier, a state media outlet labeled online games as ‘spiritual opium.’
The government will also increase inspections of online gaming companies. That will ensure successful enforcement of these time limits.
Effects of Online Gaming on Chinese Youth
China ranks among the world’s most powerful countries. Unfortunately, gaming addiction has long been affecting the mental health of many Chinese kids and teens. Thousands of Chinese youths suffer from gaming addiction. That’s why the government is taking strict measures to address this issue. Earlier rules limited each child’s total playtime to 90 minutes per day with an extra 3 hours permitted only during holidays.
The country is concerned about the negative impact of excessive online gaming, especially on teens. According to the Economic Information Daily, thousands of teens in China struggle with gaming addiction. Poor grades may also force some students to drop out of school.
Tencent Uses Facial Recognition to Prevent Excessive Online Gaming
The Chinese gaming giant will now benefit from the latest facial recognition technology. That will prevent children from logging into games, after a certain time.
Each player must pass a facial scan for proving that they are old enough to log on after 10 pm. The new regulations will address the concerns that some kids try to use fake IDs to play during banned times.
All player IDs are linked to a national database, but young gamers try to use adult IDs for avoiding the curfew. However, the latest facial recognition technology will help verify whether the person playing is an adult. The ‘midnight patrol feature will prevent kids from playing games between 10 pm and 8 am.
This is not the first time that Tencent has done something like this. In 2019, the company launched its ‘Gameplay Management’ system for promoting healthier gaming. The company also introduced a ‘digital lock’ system for restricting players under fifteen years of age to two hours of gaming/day.
Online gaming companies will ensure that children don’t play outside the mentioned times. The new restrictions are applicable to all devices including smartphones. This reform could be a big blow to the global gaming industry. But the policy will help the country’s youth to overcome an ongoing battle of gaming addiction.