China Imposes New Online Gaming Curfew for Teens

  • New rules implemented as part of China's efforts to curb video game addiction  
  • Gaming on weekdays limited to 90 minutes, weekends extended to three-hour time frames
  • Spending on online video games also restricted for minors based on their age
teenage boy playing Fortnite video game on his desktop computer
China’s efforts to curb video game addiction have seen the government enforce limits on teenagers’ play times and spend. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Online gaming limits for Chinese teens

China is enforcing online gaming limits for teens based on newly enacted measures to curb video game addiction. Set time frames for gaming during weekdays and weekends are now in effect for players under the age of 18.

Curfew and spend limit set

Gamers 18 and under can play online for 90 minutes a day during the week. At the weekend, the time frame increases to three hours. Under-18s are not allowed to play online video games from 10pm until 8am.

Gamers 18 and under can play online for 90 minutes a day

Along with time constraints, younger players can only spend so much money while gaming online. Children aged eight to 16 can spend 200 yuan ($28.66) a month, while players 16 to 18 can spend 400 yuan ($57.32).

The Chinese government says the limits created will clear internet space and protect the mental and physical health of minors.

Curbing gaming addiction in China

The new rules in China will apply to all online gaming platforms as well as games. Video games affected by the new rules include the popular title Fortnite.

government has a “duty to supervise the problem”

According to a spokesperson for the government, the specific rules regarding time limits came from a perspective of rational allocation involving minors’ daily work and rest time. Consideration was given to children’s sleep, study, mealtimes, as well as cultural and sports activities. The spokesperson said the government has a “duty to supervise the problem”.

The administration is working with the police to create a real-name registration system. This will provide China’s authorities with the ability to check gamers’ identity against a national database.

This is not the first time the Chinese government has placed restrictions on online gaming. A few months ago, the country restricted the number of new online games that developers could release. Fortnite players also experienced restrictions within the game once a three-hour time limit had been reached.

Calls for gaming bans also in the UK

China is not the only country making changes involving video game play and minors. According to VSO News, in the United Kingdom, politicians want video game loot boxes regulated based on gambling law. Officials have asked for the virtual feature to be banned from games that children have access to.

The call for regulation changes came in October after a report published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee which focused on video gaming. The committee asked that developers assume some responsibility for the addictive disorders associated with video games.