New gaming regulations focus on balance and moderation

By Tom Fowdy
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 2, 2021
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A fan plays a mobile game at the China Digital Entertainment Expo & Conference, or ChinaJoy, in Shanghai on July 30, 2021. [Photo/VCG]

On Monday, China revealed a series of regulations that will limit the amount of time that children under 18 can play games to three hours a week; specifically, between 8 and 9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and on public holidays. 

The regulations seek to reduce the amount of time minors spend on video game platforms to protect their physical and mental health. 

Online gaming is a phenomenon that has transformed our world and the way we live, and video games have now been with us for more than 40 years. 

According to statistics, the number of internet users under 18 in China reached 183 million in 2020, with 62.5% frequently playing video games. Around 13.2% of minors spend over two hours playing mobile games during workdays.

Moderate exposure to online games can satisfy minors' psychological needs for belonging, curiosity, and self-realization. Some sports and puzzle games also play a positive role in juveniles' growth.  

However, there is a need for balance in all things, and it simply isn't healthy for a child to be comprehensively swallowed up by gaming. 

Playing games is fun and engaging, but they are not in any sense "productive" and nor are they reflective of reality. Moreover, playing video games for too long or in a way that is too involved can lead to familial and social problems. 

When we turn on a game, we enter a fantasy world detached from our own. You can win races, defeat opponents, complete levels, or win wars – elements unattainable for most in the real world.

As the video game revolution swept over the world, excessive gaming has become a persistent problem among youths, at times distracting them from their studies or leading them to suffer from game addiction.

In this regard, regulation is merely one piece of the puzzle, and parents and teachers should work together to provide children with more care and companionship and guide them to cultivate healthy habits. Moreover, game companies must fulfill their responsibilities to prevent minors from falling into the pitfalls of game addiction.

Games have always been a part of people's social lives, and online games are products of development in the age of the internet. There is of course nothing wrong with taking a break and enjoying yourself now and then, but all things must come with balance and moderation and with consideration for where real priorities lie. 

Tom Fowdy is a British political and international relations analyst and a graduate of Durham and Oxford universities. He writes on topics pertaining to China, the DPRK, Britain and the U.S. For more information please visit:

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