Looks like the strict gaming restrictions imposed in China to combat gaming addiction among teenagers has yielded positive results.
Apparently, China has “solved” the issue of youth video game addiction, according to a report co-written by the country’s top gaming industry association that got feedback from multiple families, gaming companies, and experts,
The comment came from the 2022 Report on “The Protection of Minors in China’s Game Industry”, jointly released by the China Game Industry Group Committee, affiliated with the online game publishing regulator, said data provider CNG on Tuesday, which co-authored the report.
For those unaware, China’s online watchdog, the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) in September last year imposed strict gaming instructions to stop the growing addiction among teenagers, which they referred to as ‘spiritual opium’.
As per the regulation, online gamers under the age of 18 in China are allowed to play games only between 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and on public holidays. In other words, minors are banned from playing online video games entirely between Monday and Thursday.
CNG said the report found that “more than 75 percent of minors play less than three hours a week, and game addiction has been basically solved”.
It heaped praises on a number of Chinese game companies, including Tencent for achieving “remarkable results” through the systems they introduced to help reduce kids’ screen time.
According to the report, 75.49% of children are playing games for fewer hours per week, which has reduced from 67.76% in 2021. In addition, unauthorized payments from parents’ bank accounts have dropped to 15.43% in 2022 from 28.61% in 2021, suggesting that 30% of kids have reduced their game-related payments in the last year.
“The anti-addiction systems adopted by gaming companies cover more than 90 percent of underage game users,” the report said.
Children aged between 9 to 19, which is about 98 percent of people in China, own a mobile phone and there are about 186 million internet users aged 18 or younger, it added.
While the report concluded that video gaming addiction was now under control, it also highlighted that after the anti-addiction rules for games were released, 65.54% of minors are now spending the time, which they originally spent on games, on short video services online for entertainment needs, mainly which are Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok, and its rival Kuaishou.
However, these platforms, have implemented a “youth mode” feature since 2019, which requires identification checks and parental control. Kids are also not allowed to browse between 10 pm and 6 am, while parents are able to set up browsing and online tipping limits.