The Chinese government recently announced a new limit of three hours per week on how long children can play online video games – one of the country’s most restrictive measures to date in its war against children. state media said “”spiritual opium“earlier this month. According to the Chinese state news agency, Xinhua, tech giants like Tencent can only allow minors on their platforms between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Fridays, weekends and holidays. As of 2019, underage players in China were only allowed 1.5 hours per day.
Critics were quick to point out that it was more of a way for the Chinese government to run and control its tech industry than to protect underage gamers. Even if Reuters quotes Chinese state media estimates that “62.5% of Chinese minors often play online games and 13.2% of underage mobile game users play mobile games more than two hours a day on working days”, Tencent responded alleging that only about 3% of its profits come from in-game transactions by minors. It is also unclear how easily Chinese authorities will be able to enforce the law given workarounds such as logins. and accounts of parents using false information.
Other changes included in the announcement – China’s new time restriction may be the most draconian yet, but it wasn’t the only new reform announced by the country’s government on Monday. In addition to the three-hour-a-week rule, all online gaming must now be tied to an “anti-gambling state add-on system” based on real name registrations, while businesses must also restrict online gambling. in-game purchasing methods. Finally, regulators will reportedly work more with parents and schools to help reduce addiction to video games.
Strict restrictions are already in place – While this is just the latest in a long and increasingly severe restrictions imposed by the Chinese government, overseas companies have also instituted their own age-based barriers for some time now.
Returning in early July, Tencent (publisher of the world’s most popular multiplayer online fighting arena game, Honor of kings) announced a new policy involving facial recognition technology to scan users and determine their ages in an effort to limit late-night underage games.
Add that to the news that Chinese companies and prisons are using similar technology to “read” people’s emotions, and it creates an increasingly frightening and invasive surveillance state that shows no signs of slowing down. technology companies, but exercise ever greater control over citizens.