China squeezes kids' online gaming time to 3 hours a week

Minors won't be allowed to play online games on school days.

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China is tightening its restrictions on online gaming for kids and teens. Chinese officials on Monday issued rules that will limit the time minors are allowed to play online games to just one hour a day on weekends and holidays, according to state-run news agency Xinhua

The new rules, released by the National Press and Publication Administration, are focused on "anti-addiction" measures and reportedly follow complaints from parents that the previous restrictions were too generous. Under rules put in place in 2019, minors were limited to one and a half hours of online gaming on weekdays and three hours on weekends.

"Recently, many parents have reported that some teenagers' addiction to online games has seriously affected their normal study life and physical and mental health," an official told Xinhua. 

The new rules come amid a crackdown on technology companies in China. Earlier this month, Chinese lawmakers passed sweeping new data privacy regulations that limit how personal information can be collected and used. 

Online gaming platforms can only allow minors to play from 8 to 9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, as well as holidays, and gaming companies will be required to use a "real-name verification system" to enforce the age restrictions. Chinese officials will also step up inspection and enforcement of the restrictions, according to the NPPA. 

The new restrictions go into effect Sept. 1.