China Cuts Screentime for Minors

   The National Press and Publication Administration in China restricts gaming time from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays, weekends, and holidays. The new rule affects those under 18, and is reinforced across all devices. The restriction responds to the growing issue of gaming and internet addictions amongst minors.

   Gamers are considered addicted when it affects physical, social, or mental health.  Many children feel that gaming and social media impact their social lives. Groups of friends come together and play mobile games, not talking to one another. About 41.9 percent of children from five to 19 years old have myopia, shortsightedness associated with screen time, and 67 percent of gamers miss sleep due to gaming, prompting China’s restriction.

   China’s effort to create a more successful generation is strict, but children will try to avoid the new restrictions. Age verification is ingrained in major technology companies through ID verification systems and by the new rule of using real names rather than fake ones for account creation. Children might try to use older friends’ or relatives’ accounts to avoid their accounts from blocking their usage after their hour has passed. If they are unable to pass by the regulations, many may use other forms of online entertainment, such as video sharing and social media platforms as a  substitute.   

   China’s restrictions will further cut playing time, but it could create a productive group of workers out of the new generations. Both the U.S. and China are major world powers, but China’s new generations are becoming keener and could be more productive members of society in the future. Youths will be unable to spend time playing games, which forces them to find new, more productive ways to spend their time. 

   Other nations such as Korea have similar restrictions, paving the way for other nations to follow. These restrictions act both as a warning and a signal for other nations, app developers, and guardians to watch and control online usage for minors. Online apps often use methods to continuously stimulate the production of dopamine, making it difficult for users to regulate themselves, causing people to become immersed in their digital world. While nationwide restrictions would help mitigate effects of gaming, many are against it. A ban would encroach on an individual’s rights, but with the addictions growing more common, many gamers and parents are becoming more watchful of how time is spent online. Individuals favor regulating themselves though apps that regulate usage of social media or games as opposed to restrictive bans.