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Researchers find no evidence that game play time limits for minors in China reduce longer play

Researchers find no evidence that game play time limits for minors in China reduce longer play. Image Source: IANS News

Hong Kong, Aug 14 : Researchers have found no evidence that the rules imposed by the Chinese government on online gaming time for minors had reduced heavy gaming, a new study has shown.

Researchers from the UK and Denmark obtained anonymised data from the US game engine developer Unity, which covered 7.04 billion hours of playtime from 2.4 billion mainland Chinese gamer profiles from August 2019 to January 2020, according to the study published in the journal Nature.

The researchers noted that those profiles include both children and adults because the data they obtained did not include age information, reports South China Morning Post.

According to the researchers, 0.77 per cent of the profiles they observed engaged in “heavy play” between August and October 2019, before China implemented its gaming time mandate.

Heavy play is defined as spending at least four hours a day and six days a week gaming.

This compares to 0.88 per cent of gamers who did so after the Chinese government limited minors’ online gaming time to 90 minutes per day in November 2019.

The study also looked at play patterns in 2021, when China limited minors’ online gaming time to three hours per week. The new rule had no discernible effect on heavy gaming, as per the researchers.

Earlier this month, China’s cyberspace regulator proposed rules limiting the smartphone screen time of kids based on their age with a “minor mode”.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) had announced that the age classification design will be divided into five age intervals — under 3 years old; over 3 years old but under 8 years old; over 8 years old but under 12 years old; over 12 years old but under 16 years old; and over 16 years old but under 18 years old.

Kids over the age of 8 but under the age of 16 are limited to one hour of mobile usage.

For teens over the age of 16 but under the age of 18, the screen time is limited to two hours.

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