China further restricts gaming by banning minors from arcades during school days

By Todd KuhnsLast Updated on Nov 25, 2019
China further restricts gaming by banning minors from arcades during school days

On the heels of this month’s restrictions on online gaming for children under 18, China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism released a notice dated November 12 that forbids minors from playing “gaming entertainment devices” outside of weekends and legal holidays.

In order to “strengthen the management of game entertainment equipment” and “meet the growing needs of the people for a better life,” the notice creates regulations for electronic game machines set up in businesses and entertainment venues.

It includes the sweeping measure of banning children’s access to arcade games altogether – from video games to prize-winning games like “claw machines” – except during “statutory legal holidays,” which would include non-working weekends.

The notice also includes directives such as:

  • Encouraging game machine manufacturers to actively promote health, sports skills, education, parent-child interaction, and Chinese and socialist values in their products.
  • Ensuring logos, operating instructions and game content are in the local language.
  • Prohibiting game mechanics and content that promote gambling.
  • Establishing auditing teams of experts to review and ensure compliance at the provincial level, under the direction of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
  • Requiring that both domestically produced and imported game machines go through a compliance review process.
  • Requiring that prize-winning games (such as claw machines) be filled with safe prizes that are not “shoddy” or “fake”.

Earlier this month, the Chinese government similarly restricted online gaming for minors, stipulating that children under 18 must not be allowed to play online games between the hours of 10pm and 8am each day, and for no more than 90 minutes each weekday or 3 hours on weekends and legal holidays.

In October, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) announced an age-restricted “Youth Mode” now available on most major streaming platforms to limit screen time for children and teens and prohibit them from tipping livestreamers.

Government officials said the regulations are an attempt to combat “gaming addiction” and distraction among youth, and the mental and physical health problems that result.