Gaming addiction part of ‘public health problem’ say regulators

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gaming regulation minor protection mental health live streaming
Professional gamers at Vici Gaming playing Honour of Kings in Shanghai. (Image credit: TechNode/Shi Jiayi)

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.”