China Limits Kids' Gaming Time to Three Hours a Week: Should India Follow Suit?
The Quint spoke to gaming industry experts to understand whether India should implement similar regulations.
If you're under 18 and a fan of video games in China, you're now restricted to just three hours of play a week.
According to new rules imposed by China's National Press and Publication Administration, beginning Wednesday, 1 September, video gaming companies such as NetEase and Tencent are required to limit online gaming to just three hours per week for minors.
The new regulations imposed serve as a broad crackdown on tech giants in addition to combatting online gaming addiction in China.
What Are the New Rules?
Under the new regulations, companies are restricted from offering their services to minors outside a small window of time.
Those under 18 can access online games only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and only between 8 pm and 9 pm. Minors are also allowed to play during the same time on national holidays.
Interestingly, the new rules also state that companies must make sure that players are using their real identities while playing the games.
The Quint spoke to gaming industry experts – Lokesh Suji, Director of Esports Federation of India, Tarun Gupta, Founder of Ultimate Battle, Abhishek Aggarwal, Co-Founder & CEO of Trinity Gaming, and Pranav Panpalia, Founder of OpraahFx and OP Gaming – to understand whether India should implement similar regulations.
China's Move To Limit Game Time 'Conservative'
Lokesh Suji, Director of Esports Federation of India, told The Quint that China’s move to limit the game time only to three hours per week seems to be too conservative.
"What they missed out on is that playing video games enhances your cognitive skills, hand-eye coordination, healthy brain stimulation, development of problem-solving skills, etc. Video games are also prescribed as a treatment for ailments like autism, depression, and Parkinson's disease," he added.
Meanwhile, Tarun Gupta, founder of Ultimate Battle, believes that parental control is an effective measure to shield kids from overexposure to gaming. "Parents need to resort to advance parental control solutions to ensure that kids have limited access to gaming, be it in the form of PC or mobile," he said.
'Do Not See This Happening in India Anytime Soon'
Abhishek Aggarwal, Co-Founder & CEO, Trinity Gaming, noted that the decision that China has taken for the young players is with a good intention, however, the time allotted is way too constrained.
"We sincerely hope that we do not see this happening anytime soon in India, as we are still in the process of growing the e-sports sector. We want our government to support, encourage and recognise our e-sports ecosystem, then a government regulatory body will look into these aspects of the ecosystem."Abhishek Aggarwal, Co-Founder & CEO, Trinity Gaming
'Can’t and Shouldn’t Be Implemented in India'
Pranav Panpalia, Founder, OpraahFx and OP Gaming, told The Quint that China is almost 10 times ahead of India in terms of gaming and IT infrastructure.
"We cannot afford to have such a stringent mechanism to monitor and gather data of millions of minors in the country. Moreover, with the COVID situation, kids haven’t been playing outdoors, and such a limitation will make kids frustrated and just create havoc at every home. Video games are the only escape during the times like these," he added.
Not the First Time
It should be noted that this is not the first time that China has approved measures to restrict gaming among kids and teens.
In 2019, China had mandated that minors play online games only for a maximum of 90 minutes per day, and they were not allowed to play at all between 10 pm and 8 am. Real names and phone numbers were required then too.
Panpalia adds that the earlier rule by the Chinese government of 1.5 hours of gaming each day, was considerably better.
"Every kid has a different level of maturity when it comes to gaming, therefore there have to be separate duration limits for each group. Maybe they should have had strict rules for the kids below the age group of 10, moderate/flexible duration limit for 12+. Rather what they should focus on is promoting ‘responsible gaming'."Pranav Panpalia, Founder, OpraahFx and OP Gaming
Gaming disorder was recognised by the World Health Organization in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Addictive patterns have been studied and documented by most health experts. But can the pressure from the state ensure compliance? Experts believe parental controls and creating awareness is the key.
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.