China imposes curfew on under-18s playing online video games .

China is imposing a curfew for minors to curb online gaming addictions, in an attempt to “protect the physical and mental health of minors.”

Anyone under 18 is now banned from playing games online between the hours of 10pm and 8am, and are restricted to 90 minutes a day, or up to three hours on weekends and public holidays, according to a notice released by China’s Press and Publication Administration on Tuesday.

The government is also introducing a cap on how much people can spend on games – children under eight can’t pay to play, while those aged 8 to 16 are allowed to fork over up to 200 yuan (£22) per month, an amount that doubles to 400 yuan (£45) for those aged 16 to 18.

Authorities require players to register with their real names and state identification numbers.

It’s a way for the government to enforce the rules, though Beijing says managing gaming requires cooperation from with online gaming platforms, parents, and schools.

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All are needed “to help minors establish correct online game consumption concepts and behaviour habits,” according to a government spokesperson’s remarks published on state media.

“Without the supervision and support of guardians, the effective implementation of this system will inevitably reduced.”

The curfews apply specifically to online games played via computers, mobiles or tablets, which have begun replacing traditional video game consoles, such as Nintendo and PlayStation, or Xbox. Gaming providers who fail to comply could have their business licenses revoked.

This is China’s latest move to rein in an online gaming explosion. Last year, the government started restricting the number of games that could be played online and limiting new releases to combat myopia in children and teenagers. The crackdown also reflects broader concerns that millions of young Chinese are becoming addicted to gambling, which remains illegal in the country.

But it’s unclear how effective the real-name tracking system will be, as many children already swipe their relatives’ information to register for games and skirt age restrictions.

The new rules have drawn a mixed response. “It’s very necessary!,” wrote one user online. “It would be harmful for children’s health if they stay up too late.”

Another complained: “What’s the problem with 16-year-olds playing some game after school at 10pm? Or are we supposed to do maths all the time?”

China’s massive £23 billion online gaming industry has itself tried to introduce playing restrictions for kids. In 2017, under pressure from local authorities, Tencent’s Honour of Kings, a hit game, began cross-referencing players’ real names with police data to curb playing time for younger players.

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