China bans online games for teenagers almost entirely


The People’s Republic of China almost completely bans online games for anyone under the age of 18. From September 1st, minors are only allowed to play on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, and even that only between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Previously, one and a half hours per day and three hours on public holidays were allowed.

According to official information is supposed to be the ban Protect “the physical and mental health of minors”. It is associated with a strict registration requirement. Online games without prior user registration under real names have been illegal under the dictatorship since 2019. Payments may only be made via certain interfaces specified by the state.

Had earlier this month Economic Information Daily, a newspaper from the state-run Chinese news agency, demonized online gaming and called for stricter regulation. In the article, computer games were portrayed as harmful to children’s development. These are “opium for the mind” and “electronic drugs”. The article was withdrawn, but the state regulators had taken the hint of the fence post.

Tencent, one of the largest game publishers and tech companies in China, announced new rules after the article appeared. Its games should only be allowed to be used for one hour per working day and two hours on weekends and public holidays, purchases in games should only be open to players aged twelve and over. But this attempt at self-regulation did not help.

The dictates of the National Press and Publications Authority are even more severe. To Details of the “responsible person” of the authority is the arrangement “guided by Xi Jinping’s ideas of Chinese-style socialism in the new age“. The person announced that the authority would intensify controls on all game companies and show no tolerance whatsoever.

South Korea banned online games for children under the age of 16 at night for ten years. But now South Korea’s nocturnal online gaming ban is being lifted. As in the People’s Republic, the ban was intended to prevent children from being addicted to games. However, the young people have switched to alternative gaming accounts, for example their parents’. The ban has proven ineffective in South Korea.

The Chinese authority is therefore planning a propaganda campaign to “actively guide families, schools and other social sectors”. The whole country is supposed to prevent young people from playing online games, with the authority making teachers particularly responsible. They should notice when children use someone else’s accounts and report it.


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