Diving Into China's Draconian Video Game Regulations

China rolled out overreaching rules about kids playing video games.
Diving Into China's Draconian Video Game Regulations

For decades we've heard stories about China's oppressive policies- silencing dissent, stifling protests, and poo-pooing jokes about A.A. Milne's favorite bear. But when China rolled out their draconian, overreaching rules about kids playing video games, I had to admit they were harsh, stifled freedom of these kids' choices, and ... may make a little sense?

The draconian part is Malfoy levels: China announced in early September that children under 18 would be limited to playing video games for only three hours a week. For a nation of 700 million gamers, that's a big change. And not only are they limited in the number of hours, but kids have also been told what hours they can play. So from now on, if you're under 18 in China, your Fortnite hours are 8-9 pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Oh, and you can't play Fortnite. Goodnight, sweet (Nutcracker) prince:

But considering the extraordinarily negative effects being permanently online is having on teens, it's hard to argue that these (tyrannical, encroaching) rules are entirely bad. And if we've learned one thing this year, it's that if the government doesn't step in, corporations sure won't either. Parents around the world are expressing begrudging envy, some even wishing that their governments would do something similar to get their kids off the V-sauce.

China's been kicking kids off of consoles for longer than older brothers. In 2019 China ruled that gamers under 18 couldn't game between the hours of 10 pm and 8 am and that they could only play for 90 minutes on weekdays. I'm confident the competitive queues of all of those games are full of relieved adults starting at 10 pm. A game with no teens screaming into their mics or unleashing? I might move to Beijing.

Even if you're against these particular regulations (what are you, in favor of fun, you monster?), there are plenty of times when China's gaming laws make more sense than ours. For instance, banning games that are entirely about simulated sexual assault, or calling out tech and gaming companies for infringing on users' rights and preventing them from building monopolies. 

At the end of the day, I'm glad that I've always been able to play video games when I wanted to and that they were free to explore the limits of the medium without fear of censorship. But I might feel differently the next time I hear a 14-year-old's voice crack at 2 am while talking about a character's butt.

Top Image: Epic Games


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