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

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

In September 2021, the National Press and Publication Administration, which oversees video game licensing in China, began requiring game companies prohibit children from playing more than three hours a week. This window is set from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM on Fridays, weekends, and holidays.

In March, China’s cyberspace administration 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 Worldwide times.

The new report, titled “2022 China Game Industry Progress Report on the Protection of Minors,” claims that the share of minors spending less than three hours a week on online games has grown to over 75%, all thanks to anti-addiction policies . The report, co-authored by data provider CNG, also states that anti-addiction systems adopted by gambling companies have covered more than 90% of underage gamers, according to the AFP.

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However, according to the report, all those lost playing hours were spent watching videos. It found that 65.54% of minors who originally spent their time on online games have switched to short video apps, an increase of 7.81% from the previous year.

About 98% of 9- to 19-year-olds in China own a cell phone, the report said. Meanwhile, about 186 million internet users are 18 and under.

Beijing has blamed gambling addiction for multiple problems among its youth, including nearsightedness, poor concentration, sleep disturbances and mental health problems. But with COVID-19 lockdowns still in place and winter fast approaching, Chinese parents have given children access to their accounts to keep them busy, the BBC reported.

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How China moves forward with its anti-addiction policy remains to be seen. According to reports, the government has loosened up a bit, starting with the approval of new titles after the process was frozen for months.

Featured image via CGTN

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