China Gives Children 1 Extra Hour Of Online Gaming Each Day For Lunar New Year

HONG KONG (AP) — With the week-long Chinese New Year holiday approaching in China, promised feasts and red envelopes full of cash, kids have one more treat to enjoy. It’s an online game for 1 hour every day.

For years, Chinese authorities have tried to limit the amount of time children spend playing games online to combat “Internet addiction.” They claim to have successfully contained the problem, but they haven’t missed an opportunity.

In 2019, authorities restricted minors from playing for 90 minutes a day on weekdays, barring them from playing between 10pm and 8am. In 2021, we have issued even stricter restrictions. Fridays, weekends and holidays. The game’s approval he was suspended for eight months.

China’s biggest festival, the Chinese New Year holiday from January 21st to 27th, gives you 4 extra days to participate in online games.

Many parents applaud the restrictions, even when their kids throw tantrums. Did. They include the ability to limit usage, control payments, and display age-appropriate content. Implemented.

In November, more than a year after stricter gaming controls were introduced, the Game Industry Group Committee, a government-affiliated industry body, said the problem of underage gaming addiction had been “basically solved.” issued a report stating that Friday, Saturday and Sunday restrictions remained in place.

Overall, more than 75% of Chinese minors play online games for less than three hours a week, according to a Game Industry Group report, with most parents saying they are happy with the new restrictions. I’m here.

The number of young gamers will grow from a peak of 122 million in 2020 to 82.6 million in 2022 as a direct result of China’s regulation, according to a September report from gaming market research firm Niko Partners. Decreased.

Beijing resident Zhong Feifei said her 11-year-old daughter spent less time playing games since the restrictions came into force. She said, “Her daughter stopped playing online games during the curfew.”

Zhang encourages her daughter to play with other children or spend time on other activities.

“Even during the holidays, she doesn’t spend much time playing games anymore because she finds something else to do, like playing with her dog or other toys,” she said.

Game Industry Group reports that the “biggest loophole” in gaming restrictions is parents helping their kids circumvent controls. The severe restrictions have also created an underground he market where minors can buy unsupervised “cracked” games or rent adult gaming accounts.

Zhong also enjoys playing online games, but said she avoids them when she’s with her kids and leaves home to set a good example.

Parents are the most important factor in curbing gaming addiction, said Tao Lan, director of Beijing’s Adolescent Psychological Development Base, which specializes in treating gaming addiction.

Taoz estimates that the app’s restrictions and “youth mode” settings helped combat online gaming addiction in younger children who might not know how to find workarounds. High school kids tend to be resourceful and often find ways to break through limitations. That might mean convincing your parents to let you use the account, or finding your passcode and turning off “use mode.”

With so many people stuck at home during the pandemic, children were spending huge amounts of money online, Tao said.

“The pandemic has contributed to the rise of Internet addiction. The number of minors sent to our center each month to curb their addiction has never decreased.” Monthly.

“We found that many of the kids who are addicted to games have their parents playing games,” says Tao. “So these kids look at their parents and think it’s okay to spend a lot of time playing games, because their parents play games too.”

With the easing of the crackdown, regulators have resumed approving new games.

In February, NetEase, the country’s second-largest gaming company, licensed the role-playing simulation game Fantasy Life from Nintendo. However, the company’s partnership with Activision Blizzard is set to end by his January 23rd, meaning that hits like Overwatch and World of Warcraft will be released in China until Blizzard finds a new domestic partner to publish the game. will withdraw from the market.

In December, the green light was given to the first batch of imported games for the first time in 18 months. Tencent, China’s largest gaming company, has received approval for Riot Games’ tactical shooter Valorant and multiplayer online battle arena game Pokémon Unite.

Not all parents agree with the government’s heavy-handed approach.

Huang Yan, mother of a 12-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son in Beijing, said online games foster teamwork and help children make friends.

“I’m not against minors accessing the internet, games and social media because it’s a general trend and it’s impossible to stop,” she said. “It is better to let them face these activities, intervene appropriately when they cannot control themselves, and direct them to other interests.”

Yu Bing, AP News Assistant in Beijing, contributed to this report.

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