China’s gaming industry regulator has created a special website that encourages the public to report companies for any violation of state regulations designed to protect kids from video gaming addiction.
The website, officially named “reporting platform for gaming companies implementation of anti-addition regulations”, was created by the National Press and Publication Administration (NAPP) and is currently in “trial operations”.
Anyone with a Chinese ID and a mobile phone number can report gaming company irregularities to the regulator through the website. Reported irregularities are grouped into three types; whether an online game has fully implemented real name registration requirements; whether an online game has implemented time limits of only three play hours to gamers under 18 each week; and whether an online game has stopped teenagers from spending too much money on it.
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The website appears designed to support last month’s new regulations from Beijing, which limit gaming time for players aged under 18 to between 8pm and 9pm on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. The rules also cap online game spend to 200 yuan a month for those aged between 8 and 16 years’ old and 400 yuan per month for those aged between 16 and 18.
The rules, some of the strictest in the world and aimed at preventing gaming addiction among minors, are part of a broad effort by the Chinese authorities to align people’s online activities with the state’s future needs. President Xi Jinping said at a meeting in Beijing in March that teenage addiction to video gaming was a social problem that must be addressed.
The Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda department, along with NAPP and other regulators, last week summoned the country’s gaming firms, including Tencent Holdings and NetEase, to discuss how they will implement Beijing’s new restrictions on video gaming for minors.
In addition, video gaming companies have been directed to clean up content by removing what authorities described as the “wrong set of values”, including “worshipping money” and “gay love”. They were also reminded not to focus purely on profit and ensure that young people are protected from gaming addiction.
On Tuesday, more than 20 video games companies based in Shanghai, China’s video gaming hub, were summoned to a meeting with city authorities, urging them to toe the state line. The South China Morning Post reported last week that regulators have slowed their approval of new online games. NAPP has not published its list of approved titles for August, breaking its routine of announcing newly licensed games either in the middle or at the end of each month since May 2019.
China has other websites aimed at encouraging public vigilance when it comes to regulations.
Internet watchdog the Cyberspace Administration of China, for example, has a website that accepts reports of “illegal and bad information” in cyberspace, while China’s Ministry of Public Security has a website for people to report internet crime.