Children have an additional item to look forward to as the week-long Lunar New Year festivities in China approach, with promises of feasts and red envelopes filled with money.
One hour only.
To combat “internet addiction,” Chinese officials have been attempting to limit the amount of time children can spend playing games online for years.
Authorities in 2019 limited minors’ playing time to 90 minutes per day on weekdays and forbade it between 10 p.m. and dawn. and 8 a.m.
They imposed even stricter limitations in 2021: Minors are only permitted to play online games for one hour daily and only on Fridays, Saturdays, and Public Holidays.
They will have four more days to play online games during the Lunar New Year holiday, which runs from January 21 to January 27 in China.
Even though their kids hurled fits, many parents praised the limitations. To safeguard children, social media and game businesses added or improved “youth mode” settings to their apps.
They have controls over fees, age-appropriate content, and usage restrictions. Real-name registration and even facial recognition gateways have enabled some well-known games to stop workarounds.
Even while the three-hour weekly limit for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday remained in place, a government-affiliated business body, Game Industry Group Committee, released a report in November declaring that the problem of gaming addiction among minors was “essentially overcome.”
Overall, the Game Industry Group’s report said more than 75% of minors in China played online games for less than three hours a week, and most parents expressed satisfaction with the new restrictions.
A report by games market intelligence firm Niko Partners in September found that the number of youth gamers declined to 82.6 million in 2022 from its peak of 122 million in 2020 due to China’s regulations.