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Opinion: Chinese Government’s New Policy Limits Gaming Freedom

New policy detrimental to already stressed-out students
Photo by Reese Greenlee
In the library, junior Taylor Judge plays the game Slither during a break. Taylor has played video games since as long as he could remember. “I like video games because they give me an outlet to relieve my stress” Taylor said.

The Chinese government’s recent policy restricting the time adolescents spend playing video games is an extreme, and quite frankly, a rash, decision that will have negative impacts on the mental health of the youth.

The policy, which took effect on Sept. 1, aims to reduce the percentage of minors who are frequent players of video games by limiting them to one hour of playtime from 8-9 p.m. on Fridays and weekends, with an extra hour added on public holidays.

The Chinese government has implemented this policy by requiring anyone playing a game to submit their real-life name before logging in, according to South China Morning Post. 

Xinhua News Agency reporter Shi Jingnan defends this policy by reiterating that, “Recently, many parents have reported that some teenagers’ indulging in online games has seriously affected their normal study life and physical and mental health, and even caused a series of social problems, causing many parents to suffer unspeakably and become a pain in the hearts of the people.” 

Jingnan believes that it is important for the government to take action because “young people are the future of the motherland,” therefore protecting the physical and mental health of the young is a vital interest in the heart of the citizens. 

China’s Leader Xi Jingping proposes four measures which he claims explain his reasoning. The first reduces the amount of time that minors spend online gaming. The second will reiterate the real-name registration for gaming accounts. The third aims to strengthen the anti-addiction measures in general, and the fourth hopes to influence families into maintaining a child’s mental and physical health throughout their youth.

The first three measures Jingping proposes in his statement vastly underestimates the youth’s ability to bend rules and get through the government’s tactics. A well-known workaround is to use a VPN to make it seem as if you are playing video games from anywhere else in the world.

Giving people a rank in society based on their perceived value causes extreme performance anxiety. Children in primary and secondary schools are already facing psychological problems due to academic pressure, according to China.org. The first reaction that most students have to this anxiety is to find coping mechanisms. For some, this is playing video games. China’s new policy limits this mechanism.

The fourth measure President Jingping proposes, will be the only measure to have a positive effect on Chinese society as plans to influence parents into taking care of their children on their own rather than allowing the government to do it for them. Unfortunately, it seems that the fourth measure mainly has been established in order to get parental approval of the new policy rather than promoting individual parenting practices.

Serious online game addictions are a form of coping. If China fixed the intense culture of competition among students that puts an inordinate amount of pressure on them, China would not have to implement such harsh video game restrictions.  


About the Contributor
Will Gaffey, Design editor
What are your favorite TV shows/movies? His Dark Materials, Game of Thrones, Dead Poets Society, and Puss and Boots 2 Who are your favorite music artists? Sublime, Third Eye Blind, Kendrick, and Cage The Elephant What causes are you passionate about? I am extremely passionate about all things related to the environment