In context: For most children, the summer holidays are a time for fun and games. But China's under 18s won't be enjoying much of the latter, at least when it comes to the online variety. Tencent has told the nation's youth not to expect a relaxation of harsh online gaming time limits during the seven-week holidays, despite rumors to the contrary.
It was back in August last year when China tightened its already harsh restrictions on online gaming for those under 18. Previously, minors could access online games for one and a half hours on weekdays and three hours on holidays and weekends. This was slashed to just one hour, between 8 pm and 9 pm local time, on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
There had been rumors that restrictions would be eased during the summer, with children allowed to play online titles for one hour every day of the week. Tencent Games dashed those hopes with a post that read, "Did you hear that gamers can play every day during the summer holiday? There might be a bit of a misunderstanding."
"It's better to breathe in some fresh air instead of getting addicted to playing games," the company added (via SCMP).
Tencent also warned under 18s not to buy or rent game accounts to circumvent the restrictions. It added that a new version of its facial recognition system, introduced last year to stop minors from using older relatives' accounts, was being implemented.
Not surprisingly, there are plenty of dissenting voices; one user even compared it to China's former one-child policy.
China has long held a dim view of video games, calling them "electronic drugs" last year. It also has a strict policy when it comes to granting games licenses—April saw the end of an approval freeze stretching back to July 2021.