China says it has ‘solved’ children’s addiction to online games, but attention shifted to videos

China has “basically solved” the problem of online gaming addiction among its youth, according to a new report co-authored by the China Game Industry Group Committee, the country’s top gaming industry body.

Back in September 2021, the National Press and Publication Administration, which oversees video game licensing in China, began requiring game companies to forbid children to play more than three hours a week. This window is set from 20:00 to 21:00 on Fridays, weekends and holidays.

In March, the Cyberspace Administration of China also released a draft asking companies to improve the rules of the game to prevent addiction and ensure that children do not come into contact with content that could affect their physical and mental health, according to Global Times.

The new report, titled “2022 China Game Industry Progress Report on the Protection of Minors,” claims that the proportion of minors who spend less than three hours a week playing online games has grown to more than 75%, all thanks to be anti-addiction policies. Written by data provider CNG, the report also stated that anti-addiction systems adopted by gaming companies have covered more than 90% of underage players, according to AFP.

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But all those lost gaming hours had been spent watching videos instead, according to the report. As it turned out, 65.54% of minors who originally spent their time playing online games have switched to short video apps, which is an increase of 7.81% from the previous year.

Of those aged 9 to 19 in China, about 98% own a mobile phone, the report said. Meanwhile, approximately 186 million internet users are aged 18 and under.

Beijing has blamed gambling addiction for several problems among the youth, including myopia, poor concentration, sleep disorders and mental health problems. But with COVID-19 lockdowns still being enforced and winter fast approaching, Chinese parents have been giving children access to their accounts to keep them entertained, BBC reported.

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How China moves forward with its anti-addiction policies remains to be seen. Reports say the government has begun to loosen up, starting with the approval of new titles after freezing the process for months.

Featured image via CGTN

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