Wednesday, November 10, 2021

China, Children and the Gaming Culture

A recent announcement on China's National Press and Publication Administration shows the nation's leadership's dedication to preventing video game addiction and other negative side effects of excessive gaming among China's children.


Here is the "Notice on Further Strict Management and Practically Preventing Minors from Indulging in Online Games" announcement from the NPPA translated into English using Google translate:


The announcement was also made on Xinhuanet as shown here:


Online games will now only be available to China's minors between 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  This is being done to "create a healthy environment for the growth of minors" and prevent gaming addictions.


This follows a 2019 move which sought to curb online gaming by limiting game play for minors to between 8 am and 10 pm daily as well as time limitations as shown here:


"It is stipulated that game services for minors shall not be provided from 22:00 to 8:00 of the next day every day, no more than 3 hours per day on statutory holidays, and no more than 1 day per day at other times The specific standards are mainly put forward from the perspective of the reasonable allocation of minors’ daily work and rest time, except for normal sleep, study, dining, and cultural and sports activities, and distinguish between holidays and other times, and limit the length of game time. This provision is not only a requirement for online game companies and platforms, but also a guide for guardians to perform their duty of guardianship for minors."


It also limits the provision of game payment services for minors under the age of 8 and limitations for users between the ages of 8 and 16 years as shown here;


"It is stipulated that online game companies shall not provide game payment services for users under the age of 8; the same online game companies provide game payment services for minors over 8 but under 16 years of age. For users, the single recharge amount shall not exceed RMB 50, and the cumulative monthly recharge amount shall not exceed RMB 200; for minor users over 16 years old, the single recharge amount shall not exceed RMB 100, and the cumulative monthly recharge amount shall not exceed 400 yuan."


At that time, Chinese authorities also made the following recommendation regarding age-appropriate warnings:


"It is important to note that age-appropriate prompts are not equivalent to Western grading systems, and harmful content such as pornography, blood, violence, and gambling is never allowed in games for adults."


 According to the Digital Wellness Lab, in the United States:


1.) 66% of tweens aged 8 to 12 play video games for an average of 2 hours per day

2.) 56% of teens ages 13 to 17 play video games for an average of 2.5 hours per day

3.) Over 80% of both tweens and teens have a gaming console

4.) Young children aged 2 to 4 play for 21 minutes per day, and those aged 5 to 8 play for 42 minutes per day

Statista has the following more specific gaming data for children 4 to 15 years of age:


...which may explain this:


"For children and adolescents aged 2-19 years in 2017-2018:


The prevalence of obesity was 19.3% and affected about 14.4 million children and adolescents.

Obesity prevalence was 13.4% among 2- to 5-year-olds, 20.3% among 6- to 11-year-olds, and 21.2% among 12- to 19-year-olds. Childhood obesity is also more common among certain populations.

Obesity prevalence was 25.6% among Hispanic children, 24.2% among non-Hispanic Black children, 16.1% among non-Hispanic White children, and 8.7% among non-Hispanic Asian children."


...and this:

Maybe China's leadership is on to something after all.

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