Chinese Minors Are to Be Limited to 3 hrs of Video Gaming per Week


Adults can go online whenever they want and start having fun on sites like VulkanBet, but online entertainment for youngsters is not an easy task: there are many rules that restrict them. In Asian countries with oppressive regimes, even a simple act like playing a game can become quite difficult. We recently saw one of the best examples of this in China: the government has enacted very strict rules on games played by children under 18. So, what are these new rules, what is the reason for them, and are they applicable? Below you can find the answers to all these questions.

Content of the Regulation

First of all, let's talk about the new rules introduced with this regulation. Before August 2021, playing games for minors was not an easy task either. They could only play “regular” games for 90 minutes a day and were allowed to play multiplayer games for three hours on holidays. The National Press and Broadcasting Administration described games (especially online games) as "spiritual opium" and claimed that they disrupted children's mental health.

It seems this prohibition was not enough because as of August 2021, the following prohibitions were introduced with a new regulation:

  • Online games can only be played on Fridays and weekends (maximum 1 hour per day, 3 hours a week in total)
  • Even these days, it is allowed to play only between 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

This decision concerns approximately 110 million players under the age of 18 in China. It is not clear what exactly is meant by “online” games: are they internet-connected games or multiplayer games? Today, almost every game on any platform requires an internet connection to work, so if this provision is interpreted broadly, it means that even simple single-player games cannot be played.

Is It Possible to Implement This Regulation?

Making a rule is not a difficult task, but getting it implemented is another story. How will this rule be implemented? Those over the age of 18 are not within the scope of the ban, so how will it be determined that the person playing the game is under the age of 18? They plan to solve this problem in two ways:

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  • It will only be possible to register for the games with real personal information. This means that you will not be able to use a nickname when creating an account: you are required to provide and verify your identity information.
  • The games will check who is playing using facial recognition technology.

The first solution is easy to bypass: any child can open an account with their brother's, sister’s or anyone else's information. However, while playing the game, a camera will work constantly to check whether it is really the person they say and, we think, if it detects that a minor is playing, it will both close the game and report the situation to the official authorities, as a fine must be paid if these rules are not complied with. In other words, your phone or tablet PC will be able to report you to the authorities.

Sounds like a dystopian scenario, doesn't it?

Why Was This Necessary?

Repressive regimes in Asian and Middle Eastern countries always have a plan for children, and that plan always includes the “good old days”. Traditions and "spiritual cultivation" form the basis of these plans, and anything that could affect both is quickly banned. Computer games are one of the things that should be banned because they show children and young people that a different world is possible. The state has a say and is the sole authority on how every citizen, especially children, should live their lives. It is impossible for Western cultures to understand such a regime: in these countries, people live for the state and certain things are expected of them. 

It is obvious that this ban cannot be implemented efficiently. Facial recognition technology is too expensive and complex to be added to every game: it can only be added to the most popular games by the biggest developers. To gain some insight into the situation in China, ask yourself: what would you do if you were banned from reading comics when you were a kid? Would you abide by this ban, or would you continue to read them secretly? Prohibitions have never worked in any period of history and have resulted in more attention for what was banned. We are confident that the game ban in China will result in the same.