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China Limiting Children’s Online Gaming to Three Hours a Week

Kids under 18 years old will only be able to play from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays

China video games
Photo by HANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images
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    Let’s be real: there’s a lot of bad vices to have out there. Frequent gaming isn’t one of them, but that isn’t stopping China from putting a new rule in place that will heavily restrict it as if it were. On Monday afternoon, China’s National Press and Publication Administration announced that kids will only be allowed to play video games for three hours a week, reports Bloomberg.

    The statement released to the press indicates that children and teenagers under 18 years old alike will only be allowed to play one hour of gaming from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. That’s a decrease from 2019, when a previous restriction limited online gaming to 1.5 hours per day. Apparently Chinese authorities are hell bent on taking on the role of super strict parents.

    “Teenagers are the future of our motherland,” said an NPPA spokesperson. “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.”

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    There are over 110 million minors that play video games in China, which makes sense because video games are a fun way to pass the time while challenging your brain to be creative, multi-task, communicate, and solve puzzles. By restricting the hours and times at which children can indulge in the time-honored tradition of gaming, China’s higher-ups are limiting one of the best methods for the youth to sharpen their skills.

    It turns out the decision will also dampen the Chinese stock markets. According to Bloomberg, some of the largest technology companies in China will be directly effected by this blow to the younger demographic of their clientele. For example, gaming giant Tencent’s stock price closed down 0.6% at 465.80 Hong Kong dollars on Monday ahead of NPPA’s announcement.

    It’s not all bad news for tech companies, though. “We do not expect the decline in spend to have a significant material impact on the bottom line of game companies given limits on time and spending have already been in place for minors for the past two years,” Daniel Ahmad, a senior analyst at Niko Partners, told CNBC. “Therefore, we expect a softer impact on overall growth rates as spending among minors was already low.”

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    These days, video games are not only commonly accepted as a legitimate form of entertainment, they’re also rising in popularity with users beyond the typical American gamer stereotype. Just look to the news headlines from the past few months, which include Queen’s new mobile rhythm game Rock Tour, the zen adventure game Sable soundtracked by Japanese Breakfast, and the fact that Netflix will start offering video games within the next year.

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