Three Hours a Week

By Hailey Abdilla

Three hours a week is the only amount of time allocated for minors in China to play video games since early September. For more than 268 million people living in China, they only have access to video games Friday through Sunday from eight to nine p.m. with the exception of national holidays. While some parents in China are grateful for the government interference that regulates their children’s screen time, many believe that this is yet another example of the Chinese government overstepping the line between government and familial decisions. However, many in China consider the digital age and the internet to be an addiction, even going so far as to compare internet addiction to the Opium War of the 1800s in which millions of Chinese citizens became addicted to opium, a highly addictive narcotic. 

Worries about internet addictions among children and young adults has been a pressing issue in China for a while, resulting in the creation of digital “detox” centers where kids and teens are sent to spend time away from technology. Tao Ran, the director of the Adolescent Psychological Development Base, a digital detox facility outside of Beijing has stated, “The Chinese government’s strong measure this time is the most successful attempt in our fight against addiction.” Most families stay at these facilities anywhere between three to six months and technology is strictly prohibited and the participants’ free time is filled with exercise and group therapy. 

While some parents consider the new video game regulations necessary and helpful, many technology companies are dealing with the economic burdens they now face. One tech company known as Tencent has been faced with a ten percent plummet in stock value but has since been able to recover. Many also believe the video game regulations were created in an attempt to limit the influence and communication of individuals in Chinese society. Whatever the true reasons may be for the new, strict regulations concerning video gaming for minors in China, backlash and support has been varying as many worry about the effects of the internet and digital addiction on a new generation.