China hasnt achieved anything by time limiting childrens video games

China hasn’t achieved anything by time-limiting children’s video games — gamers’ activity has increased, the study shows

Chinese authorities have long expressed concern that the younger generation of citizens are paying too much attention to computer games, and are therefore attempting to restrict such activities by law. At the same time, studies by independent experts show that such measures do not bring the desired success in practice.

    Image source: Shutterstock

Image source: Shutterstock

At least that’s what British and Danish researchers say after examining stats from game app developer Unity came to this very conclusion. Between August 2019 and January 2020, gamers around the world spent 7.04 billion hours playing games on this engine, of which 2.4 billion hours were spent by Chinese users. Since the statistics do not separate users by age, it is possible to assess only the dynamics of gaming activity of Chinese players in general.

From August 2019 to October 2019, when the PRC authorities had not yet imposed restrictions on the duration of gaming sessions for underage citizens, the owners of approximately 0.77% of gaming profiles in Unity’s accounting system could be classified as avid gamers. It was assumed that these players spend at least 4 hours a day doing their favorite activity, six days a week.

In November 2019, the authorities of the People’s Republic of China limited the duration of gaming sessions for underage citizens to 90 minutes per day, but Unity statistics showed that already 0.88% of users registered in the system started abusing games. In 2021, when the PRC authorities further restricted the duration of underage gaming activity to three hours per week, this again had no particular impact on Unity’s statistics for the region. In fact, the measures taken by the authorities did not bring the desired results.

Lawmakers in the PRC are now proposing to limit tablet and smartphone use to 40 minutes per day for citizens under the age of 8, increase this limit to one hour per day for those aged 8 to 15, and increase it to two to increase hours for citizens aged 16 and 17. Hours per day. App and device developers are encouraged to implement a “parental control mechanism” that prevents underage users from overcoming these restrictions on their own. However, this is possible with parental consent. By the way, Chinese citizens under the age of 12 are generally advised to ban themselves from installing applications without parental permission. Citizens in the 12-16 age group can download and install apps that match their age rating, or with parental permission if the rating is inappropriate.

The experience of imposing restrictions in the PRC shows the proliferation of various tricks when users attempt to circumvent them. This is using other people’s accounts and creating fake accounts with required criteria. Apparently, the new initiative, when put into practice, will face similar abuses.

About the author

Alan Foster

Alan Foster covers computers and games and all the news in the gaming industry.

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