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China imposes curfew on children’s online playing time

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BEIJING China has imposed a curfew to limit the time spent by children playing games online, in the latest part of a government crackdown on youth gaming addiction.

The regulations will mean those under 18 cannot play games online between 10pm and 8am, and for only 90 minutes at a time during the daytime.

In addition, the guidelines will reduce the amount of money minors can spend online playing games to 200 yuan (S$39) per month, rising to 400 yuan for those between 16 and 18 years old.

The new rules will also require all gamers to use a real-name registration and details such as WeChat account, phone number or ID number to sign up.

In the statement published on Tuesday, the government also calls for game producers to "modify the game content, functions or rules" to avoid causing addiction in young players.

China is the world's biggest video game market, but the government has been tightening up on the industry amid concerns about health, worsening near-sightedness in children and online addiction.

A hashtag about the new rules was one of the most discussed on Weibo yesterday with 210 million views.

"This statement just means that teenagers can't play games because for most teenagers in China, they go to school from 6.30am and they end (their day) at 10pm," one user complained.

"It is a bit of a one-size-fits-all thing," wrote another, saying a graded rating system of games made more sense.

Another claimed that it was easy to obtain fake ID numbers online and that gamers would just use these to create their accounts. - AFP