Chinese video game limits play time for children under 12

Tencent's Honor of Kings won't let kids play for longer than an hour per day.

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David Katzmaier
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Tencent To Limit Daily Playtime Of Online Game

A child plays online mobile game on July 2, 2017 in Dezhou, Shandong Province of China.

VCG / Getty Images

Screen time limits are coming to China.

Tencent, the world's biggest online gaming company, will limit the daily play time for its most popular game. The title Honor of Kings now has a limit of 1 hour per day for children under the age of 12, who will not be allowed to log in after 9 pm. Players aged 12 to 18 will be limited to 2 hours per day.

According to Reuters, the limits are a response from educators and parents worried that kids have become addicted to the game. The system builds on a link between children's accounts and those of their parents, who can then monitor kids' play time. 

"As a game developer and operator, we seek to create fun for game players but also to partner with parents and teachers to foster a healthy game environment for teenage players," a Tencent representative told CNET. "This program aims to guide teenagers towards a healthy lifestyle, balancing time spent on online games versus time to engage constructively with other things in life."

The company claims that users under 12 constitute "a small proportion of our total use base and a smaller percentage of our paying user base," and that it doesn't expect the new play time limit to have a material impact on its financial results.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends younger children (age 2 to 5) spend no longer than 1 hour per day on screen time, and "For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media..." Current ways to place a limit kids' screen time include Amazon's FreeTime service and the PBS Kids Playtime Pad

Correction, 8.32 p.m. PT: Players below 12 years of age are not allowed to play after 9 pm. Those aged 12 to 18 are limited to 2 hours of play time every day.

Updated with comment from Tencent.