China just banned young people from playing online games during the school week and also limited weekend play

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I’m sure all those motivated and technologically adept young people will never find ways to circumvent the dictates of sclerotic middle-aged bureaucrats who waste their time seriously studying something called “Xi Jiiping Thought”



I feel this is exactly the sort of heavy-handed overreach that the Beastie Boys fought against back in the '80s…


Danm communists! Ha Ha Ha!


My 12-yr old would find 10 ways to circumvent this in an hour.

My 15-yr old would find 15 ways to enable my 12-yr old.

That said - both need to get off devices and experience life - a constant reminder of my failure as a parent…


In unrelated news, VPN use in China spikes during the week…


How is this helped by government rules? I’m definitely not one to bang the “personal responsibility” drum, but really, how is this the business of anyone but the parents? Ridiculous.


I wonder how Tencent, China’s biggest games publisher, is going to handle this. I can’t imagine this is going to be all roses for them, and that publisher is a major investor in studios across the world so its likely this is going to have some kind of impact beyond China. That said as everyone else is pointing out, enforcing this seems like a difficult task. I can conceivably think of two quick ways of circumventing this already


How has your dad been playing MMORPGs nonstop these last few weeeks, I’m sure he was in bed?


Don’t worry about it

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To everyone making jokes about kids circumventing these restrictions, I’m not sure you understand the scope of China’s control over its internet.

Sure, a minority cohort of hard-core games will find a way to put up a VPN and/or play locally, etc.

But for the average family whose entire life is connected to and monitored by the central overlords, they’re not gonna let their kids take a chance at hurting the family’s digital reputation.

It’ll work, and TBH (speaking as the father of a Roblox-obsessed youngster) maybe they’ve got the right idea…


Our household just went to zero screentime± Monday to Thursday and we’re loving it. Try it, you might like it.

± Creative/active/research screentime is allowed, if they ask and can articulate exactly what they want to do/produce/research.


Does this count as you using your screen time on a Tuesday?


This is creative writing.


With all due respect, I think you way underestimate how widespread VPN use is (and how easy it is). I work in mobile gaming and we’re in China with some of our products. VPN use is massive. It’s literally an app you download and it just works. My 8yo nephew and all his friends use them to get around school routers blocking Fortnite servers. Anyone can do it and in authoritarian regimes, millions of people do.


Honestly if I had to guess it’s partly because of grandparents are raising their grandchildren while their kids go off to work in the cities. Beijing wants those kids to stay in their home provinces and they refuse to let the kids be enrolled into school in the cities where their parents are (link to a clip talking about this system). If the parents lived in the same home as their children, they would have an much easier time setting ground rules when it comes to games.

Video game regulations in asian countries are odd. In South Korea Minecraft is an adult only rated game because Microsoft/Mojang have refused to play along with local regulations with regards to time restrictions for the underaged and online gameplay. China has only two ratings for video games… yes and no. It’s only recently that major local players have started to put together a rating system for content (something that had been in the US & Canada since the 90’s lol).

China had been basically burning down their soft power and getting super paranoid of other’s soft power lately. New restrictions on domestic celebrities and online fan culture, giving a massive middle finger to Hollywood by not approving new movies for domestic release and messing up western studios’ schedules of films for “patriotic reasons & events” and companies becoming so scared of having celebrities promote their products in case there’s a big crackdown that they’re will to use completely fabricated virtual celebrities to shill their products. I seriously doubt these new restrictions of games are for completely altruistic reasons.


How does China enforce this? How can they tell that a child under 18 is playing and not an adult? OK, if it’s a “child’s game” thats an easy one. But if its Fortnite, or some game both adults/children play, what then? They seem to be going after the domestic video game makers/servers, rather than the users themselves. If the server is domestic, if you are paying RMB, they will be able to regulate you. So, how do they prevent children playing non-Chinese games on non-Chinese servers that do not have restrictions?

What are the penalties for breaking this law/rule(?)

[I saw some interesting quotes: some Conservatives are jumping all over this, because “liberals” must “love” this law, right? Because liberals *love* to “control” people, no? But, again, it’s projection. It really seems like Conservatives would love this law more, if only a ‘proper’ authoritarian government, like Bolsonaro, had enacted it.]

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Facial recognition is one enforcement method already in use.

In July, Tencent rolled out a facial recognition “midnight patrol” function to root out children masquerading as adults to get around a government curfew on underage gamers.


By losing lots of money, I assume. China has no problem giving major haircuts to big businesses when they conflict with how the government wants to country to be. I think this is stupid and will be ineffective, but I don’t think Tencent’s concerns factor into the PRCs decision making that much.