China bans children from online gaming during school week, limits games to 3 hours over weekends

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China will soon limit minors' online gaming to only three hours in a typical week in an effort to crack down on video game addiction among its youth, its government announced on Monday.

The new dictates forbid anyone under the age of 18 from playing video games at any time outside of 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. Online games will also be required to connect through an "anti-addiction" system run by the government under the regulations that take effect Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported. Users must use their real names and government-issued documentation for identification on the sites.

Under the previous rules issued in 2019, the Chinese Communist Party prohibited kids from playing video games between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. during the week with a time limit of 90 minutes, allowing three hours on weekends. There are also restrictions on how much money youth are allowed to spend on in-game purchases.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping applauds during the closing session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Wednesday, March 10, 2021.  ((AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein))

The CCP said parents called for the heightened restrictions on youth gaming over concerns game addition was harming children's studies and health. 

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China's latest move doesn't just crack down on kids' gaming time, it also cracks down on the Chinese gaming companies in one of the largest gaming markets in the world.

Tencent Holdings Ltd. – the biggest gaming company on the globe as far as revenue – saw its stock take a hit following the news, as did fellow Chinese gaming companies Roblox and Activision Blizzard.

Daniel Ahmad, a senior analyst tracking the Chinese video game market for Niko Partners, told the Journal that the new rules appear to only apply to online games. But it still means a hit for game publishers.

"This ruling is certainly extremely harsh and will essentially wipe out most spending from minors," he said.

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