After declaring an initial win in lowering teen gaming addiction, China’s semi-official gaming industry group stated that shielding kids from the negative impacts of video games are still a long-term issue that requires more work.
Video Gaming and Addiction in Minors
Ao Ran, secretary general of the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association, the semi-official body representing gaming companies in China, stated during the organization’s two-day annual conference that adolescents are aware of the negative effects of games and have a sense of self-control. However, he emphasized the significance of boosting these safeguards and raising the bar for protection.
According to Ao, the maintenance of minors is a critical and ongoing task. To prevent the rising rates of addiction among youngsters, the team should strictly enforce the rules and investigate several fields, including facial recognition. In addition, Ao pointed out that parents must protect children from gaming addiction and the obligation placed on gaming companies.
Rules to Combat Addiction
The National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA), which regulates internet gaming in the country, has implemented a variety of initiatives since August 2021 to address teen gaming addiction. One such plan limits gaming time for users under the age of 18 to Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and statutory holiday evenings between 8 and 9 p.m. As a result, more than 75% of Chinese gamers under the age of 18 have limited their playing time to three hours per week, according to a study from November. As a result, with 39 million fewer players, the Chinese gaming market went through a recession for the first time in 18 years.
Since late last year, the NPPA, in charge of nationwide licensing of video games, has begun to approve more new releases. It authorized 175 new video game licenses in the first two months of 2023, close to one-third of all licenses authorized in 2022.
During the same conference, Tencent Holdings pledged to step up its anti-addiction efforts in response to the statements. Senior director Zheng Zhong of Tencent’s division in charge of safeguarding children said they would discuss new creative forms of safeguarding children. In addition, Tencent declared in July 2022 that it would keep game time limits in place for young gamers in China. Their Midnight Patrol facial recognition system will enforce the game’s time limit, preventing kids from using their parents’ accounts to play for a few more hours.
Some other measures include:
- Developing a youth mode for minors: Companies that offer online services, such as gaming, live-streaming, OTT, and social networking sites, must develop youth modes for minors to access their services. Regarding gaming time, duration, function, and content, these modes must adhere to relevant legislation.
- Offering services to fulfil guardianship responsibilities: By the rules, gaming companies must provide services to fulfil guardianship obligations for parents and guardians. The duties include controlling time, authorization, and consumption, among other things.
- Real identity data collection: By law, IT companies can only provide services to consumers who register with genuine identity data. In addition, the companies must verify their identities. If they receive fraudulent information, they must stop offering minors services and terminate their accounts.
- Reduce the amount of time minors spend using services: Gaming Companies will need to restrict the amount of time minors use daily. As a result, corporations must also keep an eye on the total volume of consumption by minors. According to the proposed rules, they are instructed not to pay children for services that conflict with their civil capacity.
According to the new guidelines published, online gaming companies in China must adopt and enhance game rules to prevent children from developing an addiction to online games. The regulations also require gaming businesses to take precautions to prevent minors from accessing game functionality or content that could harm their physical or mental health.