China seeks to 'limit game hours'

A recent report from the China National Children's Centre said that 13% of under-18s who used the web were addicted to online gaming. The Chinese government has clamped down on the amount of time youngsters can spend playing online games: more than three consecutive hours a day will result in limited points that can be scored. Determined gamers who play for more than five hours will get no points at all and face an on-screen warning that they are entering "unhealthy game time". Online game companies based in China have been given three months (until July 15) to install the so-called anti-addiction software.

In order to verify their age, gamers will be required to register for games using their real names and identity card number. Beijing-based analyst firm CCID Consulting estimates that there are 17.8 million fee-paying gamers in China, about 20% of which are under 20 years old. A farther 10% are younger than 16. Last month, the Chinese authorities banned any new cyber cafes from opening this year in an effort to combat addiction. It has also set up a department, charged with monitoring the content of games. Games which offer a view of history at odds with the official version in China, such as the Swedish game Heart of Iron which shows Tibet as an independent state, have been banned. Boot-camps have been set up to provide military-style training in an effort to wean youngsters away from the net.

News source: BBC News

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