China Limits Minors to Three Hours of Video Games a Week

Students practicing computer games in an eSports class at the Lanxiang technical school in Jinan, in China's eastern Shandong province. / Getty Images
August 30, 2021

China issued strict measures on Monday to crack down on youth video game addiction, limiting minors to just three hours of video games a week.

China's Communist Party, which in recent years has singled out video games as a social ill and "opium for the mind," prescribed narrow hours in which young gamers will be allowed to play. Under the new regulations, minors will be forbidden from playing games at all during the school week and will be permitted just one hour a day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m, to play video games.

According to the Wall Street Journal, China could enforce the measures through technologies such as real-name registration of gamers or facial recognition software, tools that Chinese video game companies have used before to limit users' playing time in response to pressure from the regime.

The regulations are a dramatic escalation of the CCP's efforts to cut down on video gaming by minors. In 2019, China prohibited minors from playing video games past 10 p.m. and limited time spent on games to 90 minutes each weekday.

Chinese president Xi Jinping pointed to video game addiction as a social concern at a political advisory conference in March.

State media outlet Xinhua News Agency described the latest measures as an effort to "effectively protect the physical and mental health of minors."