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China to Severely Limit Video Game Access to Minors

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China is taking dramatic steps to prevent teenagers from becoming addicted to video games.

In new rules published Monday by China’s National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA), which oversees the nation’s gaming market, teens under 18 will be limited to playing games three hours per week.

It’s not just how much time can be spent gaming that will be limited. According to state run media, players can only play from 8 p.m. Until 9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Play will also be allowed, but only for one hour, during public holidays.

China had already restricted the amount of time minors could play video games, allowing 1.5 hours per day and three hours on holidays.

Video game companies that operate in China will be required to enforce the new rules by using real name/ID accounts. Once players have used their allotted time, they will be automatically logged out.

It is estimated that 62.5% of Chinese minors play video games.

In the past the Chinese government has called video games “spiritual opium.”

"Teenagers are the future of our motherland," said an unnamed NPAA official, according to Xinhua. "Protecting the physical and mental health of minors is related to the people's vital interests and relates to the cultivation of the younger generation in the era of national rejuvenation."