RealFeatures: China cracks down on Online Gamers with a curfew and time limits

This is far from the first time the Chinese government has clamped down on people's gaming habits.

The Chinese government has announced a host of new rules designed to tackle gaming addiction, banning minors from playing online games. 

In the past, online games have been blamed for making children shortsighted, and China attempted to curb the amount of time people spend online games, saying that online gaming causes issues that “affect the physical and mental health” of minors.

A representative from the State Press and Publication Administration has clapped back at these comments, protesting that online gaming satisfies people’s need for leisure and is capable of “enriching the people’s spiritual and cultural life”.

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Follow the story below for more details.

Curfew, time limits and spending caps

Along with a 10 pm-8 am curfew which will affect all online games being played in China, under 18s will also be restricted to just 90 minutes of online gaming during the week, while they can indulge for three hours per day on weekends and public holidays. 

China fears that its minors are addicted to video games

There are spending limits, too, depending on the player’s age, so youngsters can only shell out up to 200 yuan (£22) per month.

Barely enough time for a raid

Six measures are being taken, including the previously mentioned curfew, time limits and spending caps. 

Young gamers are suitably furious at how little control they have over their free time

One of these is stricter rules for real-name registration – players will be required to provide “valid identity information” if they want to play.

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Gaming companies will need to supervise their players more, too, and companies that don’t meet the new requirements will be given a time limit to make changes, eventually leading to disciplinary action.

The government will also be looking into creating a new age rating system, while also training parents and teachers to work with kids on their online habits. 

A step too far

In 2016, new regulations were proposed to protect minors online, covering a lot of the same things as the new rules. 

Young people aged between 16-18 will face softer caps than those aged under-16

The following year, state-run media attacked Tencent’s Honor of Kings, pressuring the publisher into restricting the amount of time minors could play by introducing a real-name registration programme.

A similar law existed in South Korea, though the ‘shutdown law‘ was scaled back in 2017, leaving the choice to parents.

That said, Korean parents still had to apply for permits to allow their kids to play games after midnight, but the choice was theirs and not the governments.

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Whether you view this as government-sponsored censorship or as a positive step in addressing gaming addiction, we would love to hear your view.

Join the discussion by leaving a comment below.

Julian Sims

I started at RealSport covering football and basketball content, though my passion for esports has compelled me to expand my knowledge and explore the diversity of the gaming community.

I currently lead the site's new category RealFeatures - a collection of pieces focusing on special events, noteworthy games and important figures within the world of esports.