China’s government figures out what parents can’t – how to stop kids playing video games
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China’s government figures out what parents can’t – how to stop kids playing video games

The Chinese government may have figured out something that parents worldwide have been struggling with for decades: how to stop kids spending all their time on video games. At least, that’s the Party line, as the powers that be in the country try to extend the hold they have over the internet, advertising, and more into modern forms of entertainment. But can they deliver? China’s children – as well as gaming giant Tencent – will soon find out.

Tencent’s share price has been on a tear over the last five years – but it ran into trouble earlier this year, as the Communist Party started questioning the amount of time children were spending on video games

graph 0409 china

SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

China’s children are no different to kids worldwide when it comes to the hours they spend playing games online. Their enthusiasm – coupled with the sheer number of them – has turned Tencent into a gaming juggernaut that’s behind some of the world’s biggest video game phenomena (including, with an investment into Epic Games, the “game of the summer” in the west: Fortnite).

The Ministry of Education is spearheading a plan to limit the amount of time kids spend gaming, and wants to enforce a limit on the number of online games available in the country. This is, apparently, part of a wider push to combat the growth of myopia (degrading eyesight) amongst children. It’s being championed by Xi himself. However, many observers believe this is a tacit admission that the Chinese government is alarmed by the sudden rise of video game culture in the country. China’s players – like players the world over – may well be addicted to gaming.

Here’s the Ministry of Education’s advice: “The use of electronic products for non-learning purposes should not exceed 15 minutes and should not be more than one hour per day. After spending 30-40 minutes on electronic products for learning purposes, (children) should take a break and relax for 10 minutes. The younger (the children), the shorter the time for continuous use of electronic products."

The larger question, of course, is how they plan to enforce it. After all, it’s not like parents in other countries haven’t tried to limit game time (without success). Serkan Toto, founder of game consultancy Kantan Games Inc., is unconcerned. He said: “Gamers always find a way to spend more time or money than allowed.”


Dominion holds Tencent in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.

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