Loopholes have emerged in China’s new rules months after Beijing limited the number of hours minors can spend on video games, according to a report by Reuters. An op-ed in the People’s Daily said that kids were circumventing restrictions by buying and renting accounts on online trading platforms to play games for more than three hours.
The official mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China said that the government must move quickly to address these loopholes to prevent addiction and ensure that the restrictions are effective, Reuters reported.
China has reprimanded several large tech companies like Alibaba, Tencent, Didi, and ByteDance, passed one of the world’s strictest data privacy laws, barred for-profit tutoring, cracked down on celebrity fandom, and introduced pioneering regulations on recommendation algorithms, in the span of a few months.
Summary of restrictions by China on online gaming
The Chinese government’s new rules were touted as an effort to combat addiction among minors. Chinese law considers minors as someone under the age of 18.
- An hour each on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: Online gaming companies can allow minors to play games between 20:00 and 21:00 on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and statutory holidays. At all other times, these companies should not provide games to minors in any form.
- Real-name registration must be ensured: Companies must strictly implement real-name registration and login requirements for online gamers by ensuring that users register with their real names and government-issued identification documents.
- Government must increase supervision of online gaming companies: Relevant government departments should strengthen the supervision and inspection of online game enterprises in implementing the provisions of online game services, real-name registration and login, standardised payment, etc. They should also increase the frequency and intensity of inspection, and hold violating companies strictly accountable.
In India, a demand to tackle ‘menace’ of video game addiction
In July this year, Distress Management Collective, a New Delhi-based NGO, sent a letter to the Indian government requesting it to set up a censor board for real money gaming and violent games. It followed up its request with a petition in the Delhi High Court to instruct the government to implement the demands.
The petition argued that children were getting addicted to video games necessitating regulation in the space. “There is a need for Schools to give emphasis to counseling sessions and periodic session regarding the drastic effects of getting addicted to online gaming. The petition also intends to bring to the fore the role of Cyber Cell to tackle the menace of online game addiction and resultant monetary exploitation in some cases,” read the petition.
The Delhi High Court directed the government to consider formulating a policy to protect children from addiction to online games and constitute a regulatory authority to monitor and rate the content of both offline and online games while refusing to impose any ban, according to Moneycontrol. We are yet to hear from the government in this matter.
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