National standard needed to promote healthy video gaming: CPPCC member

​By Zhu Bochen
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail ​, March 4, 2021
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Photo taken on Oct. 13, 2013 in Beijing shows teenagers playing video games at an exhibition booth at the 11th China International Digital Content Expo. [Photo courtesy of VCG]

On Wednesday, Zhu Yongxin, a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), called for establishing a unified national standard to help minors develop healthy video gaming habits.

Zhu's proposal contains a three-step protective mechanism concerning parents, teenagers, and video game companies. Specifically, it calls for a set of unified and easy-to-manage parental control tools to be put in place, and for an automated control system to be applied during the gaming process.

It also urges all video game companies to establish reporting channels for complaints and set up clear refund policies for unauthorized online spending by children.

The proposal has sparked heated discussion among social media users as the issue of video game addiction has become increasingly severe amongst children. A report by China Youth Daily in 2018 showed that among China's youth nearly one in five had been or was likely to become addicted to video games.

Many have called for a rating system for video game content which limits the types of video games available to teenagers. "I hope a rating system, not only just for games, but also for movies and novels, can be introduced, so that everyone can have access to content suitable for their own age and avoid becoming addicted," one commenter said on Sina Weibo, a Chinese micro-blogging platform.

Meanwhile, others believe parents should take most of the responsibility and create a positive family environment to help children with weak self-control capabilities develop better values and healthier habits.

On Oct. 25, 2019, the National Press and Publication Administration issued a circular on preventing minors from becoming addictive to online video games. The circular requires all online game users to register the game account using their real names and ID number. It also set strict time limits for minors' gaming activities.

"Video game companies shall not provide gaming services for minors from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m., and minors' daily gaming time shall not exceed 3 hours on public holidays and 1.5 hours on other days," said the circular.

On June 23, 2020, a virtual meeting was held to launch a national standard on the technical requirements of a system to monitor minors' online gaming activities. The standard aims to provide effective technical means for game companies, parents, and schools to help minors play video games in a healthier manner.

The National Committee of the CPPCC, China's top political advisory body, opened its annual session on Thursday afternoon in Beijing.

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