As the Chinese government increases its involvement in how the youth spend time at home, underage gamers in the country will now only be allowed to play online for just an hour a day and on weekends, the authorities have announced.
Video game players, under the age of 18, will be restricted to 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, as well as on public holidays, according to the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA).
According to Nikkei Asia, the agency, which issued the rules to gaming operators, is also pushing for the registration of users with their real names.
The NPPA in 2019 had limited underage gaming to three hours on holidays and an hour and a half on other days.
The tougher rules come as the Chinese government exerts greater control over youth education. Starting in September, elementary, middle and high school students in Shanghai will be required to learn the so-called Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, the report said.
The city of Beijing this month said it will ban foreign educational materials that have not been pre-approved by the authorities, it added.
Many Chinese game operators had already been restricting the amount of time and money underage players can spend on their platforms in anticipation of Monday’s announcement.
Earlier this month, Tencent Holdings announced that it will gradually limit underage players to two hours on holidays and an hour on other days.
The gaming company told the website that it will abide by the even tougher guidelines announced by the authorities.
Youth aged 16 and under make up 2.6 per cent of Tencent’s game revenue in China, according to April-June results announced this month.