Xi Jinping’s Simple Solution for Video-Game Addiction

This will become a rarer sight in China. Photo: VCG/Visual China Group via Getty Images

Sick of your kids staring at their screens all day playing Roblox, whatever that is? Frustrated by your inability to impose authority on them? Well, maybe good-old fashioned authoritarianism is the solution.

In an effort to combat what it sees as a particular kind of screen addiction, China ordered gaming companies to no longer allow children under 18 to play online video games from Monday through Thursday, and to let them play for only one hour — between 8 and 9 p.m. — on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays.

The Chinese agency putting the regulation into effect will also put into place an “anti-addiction” service that all online games must register with. And gaming companies must put real-name verification in place to prevent children from simply posing as adults to flout the rules.

The stringent new regulations are part of an effort to combat what one national news outlet called the “spiritual opium” of gaming addiction earlier this month. (The internet giant TenCent took major steps to limit gamers after that assessment, perhaps trying to get ahead of government mandates — some of which had already been introduced in 2019.)

But they are also part of a broader crackdown on private enterprise, from ride-hailing to e-commerce, that the Chinese government has instituted in recent months in order to align the country’s biggest businesses with President Xi Jinping’s overarching values for the country. (Apparently he is not a gamer.)

In commentary about the new regulations, People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s most prominent newspaper, opined that “the signal sent by this move is very clear — the government can be ‘ruthless” when it comes to regulating the gaming industry.

American parents, eat your hearts out.

Xi Jinping’s Simple Solution for Youth Video-Game Addiction