Regulators are again taking action against gaming addiction and problematic online content, in a bid to protect the mental health of China’s young, in a plan released today.

Why it matters: Greater scrutiny of violent and pornographic content will affect live streaming and gaming operations.

Details: Mental disorders, including gaming addiction, among minors are on the increase, and have become a “public health problem related to the future of the country,” said the announcement.

  • 12 departments including the National Health Commission, Publicity Department, and National Radio and Television Administration are behind this plan which falls under the government’s “Healthy China 2030” initiative.
  • They name online games, live streaming, short videos and educational apps as regulatory targets.
  • Online content is just one section of a plan which also includes goals for schools, mental health hotlines, and counseling.
  • Problems highlighted include bullying and gaming addiction.

“The government tends to come down harder on gory or violent content compared to pornographic content.”

—a live streaming platform employee

Context: China does not have age classification for film, TV shows, short videos, and games.

  • The revised Minors Protection Law draft has a chapter dedicated to online protection.
  • Rules issued in November restrict underage players access to games.
  • “The government hasn’t done much about porn hidden within games or anime, but turns gory or violent content into a mosaic, blacking out blood or putting flesh onto skeletons,” a live streaming platform employee told TechNode.
  • He added: “Parents are paying more attention to pornographic content and putting pressure on government. But new scenarios mean suitable boundaries are difficult to establish.”

Lavender covers regulation and its effects on people. She previously worked in a policy advisory analyzing China’s internal governance for foreign governments and multinationals. A History graduate from... More by Lavender Au

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