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Chinese Govt Limits Kids to 3hrs of Online Gaming 299

1MC writes "The Chinese govt is requiring game houses to modify MMOG's to restrict under 18 users to 3 hours "productive" gameplay per day. This "anti-addiction" software must be in place within 4 months, with games not compliant by July 15 liable to be shut down in China. Net9, Shanda and NetEase will be moving to comply with the government regulations. Users will have to register with their real names and Chinese identity card numbers to be allowed access to the games."
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Chinese Govt Limits Kids to 3hrs of Online Gaming

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  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @10:46AM (#18675519)
    How about it starts by improving the country's dismal human rights record? I would be a lot less worried about my kid playing too much WoW than I would be about the possibility that he could be thrown in prison for the rest of his life because he made a speech at his school bad-mouthing the government.
  • by ilovegeorgebush ( 923173 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @10:49AM (#18675579) Homepage
    Each time I read about China and their antics in the media, I increasingly dislike the country. I know we're not entirely free here in the western world, but at least we can make our own mistakes.

    Nanny states are bullshit, just come visit the UK [] in the not to distant future and you'll see what I mean (in fact, regardless of the nature of the previous link, we're already a nanny state).
  • by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @10:53AM (#18675673)
    Working against the existence of dissident and anti-government groups usually leads to subversive and resistance groups in short order. Bite them in the ass indeed.
  • by pubjames ( 468013 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @10:55AM (#18675701)
    Before all you USAians start going on about how repressive the Chinese government is, many of us over here in Europe find it pretty strange that in the USA you can't drink until you're 21. That's much worse than only being able to play three hours of video games a day if you're under 18!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:01AM (#18675803)

    It is so sad that it has to be a country like China that finally gets it right.

    MMO-s are addictive, they are designed to be addictive, not as a controlled substance but as a physiological trick of continuous reinforcement. Very soon people do not have fun in these game, rather they can't actually quit, they need to play to feel good again and regular life seems devoid of this feel good ingredient.

    Alas I know too well what it is like to be addicted to an MMO. And I consider myself lucky to still have a job (thank god for my wife).

    Moreover asian countries are at even more risk than US. There is a cultural affinity to the kinds of achievments that MMOs offer: "grind=advancement" and people get sucked in a lot more. Regulating gaming seems outrageous, until you realize that we're getting into a territory where we are not talking about games anymore...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:05AM (#18675855)
    Your name (beef curtains) proves that even those over 18 spout the crap we don't like to see in game. ;)
  • by rayvd ( 155635 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:09AM (#18675905) Homepage Journal
    Ah yes, the obligatory anti-US spiel. On-topic to _any_ Slashdot discussion.

    So is this something "repressive" by the Chinese government? What would you say if your own government tried to impose something like this?
  • Not so bad... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hikaru79 ( 832891 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:09AM (#18675907) Homepage
    Perhaps I'm the only one (and thus I will be modded into oblivion) but I don't think this is so bad. We are, after all, talking about minors here. As a poster above mentioned, America (lots of countries, actually) doesn't allow drinking under the age of 21; why is this? Because minors are not capable of responsibly handling something like alcohol. Well, guess what: most minors aren't capable of responsibly handling gaming either if they feel the need to do it in a public venue for more than THREE FREAKING HOURS per day! Three hours! That's almost 25% of your waking time playing a game. Notice that this does not restrict adults, and it does not constrict what anyone (including minors) do in the privacy of their own home. If any kid is so addicted that limiting his net-cafe time to three hours a day sounds like a terrible punishment, they are in need of help.

    I'm 19, so I'm in the same ballpark; I dunno what Chinese society is like firsthand, but I sure as hell don't have more than three hours a day to dedicate to a single asinine activty every single day. In my opinion, anyone who does much more than three hours of gaming in internet cafe's a day is quite analogous to someone with a substance abuse problem; they're both physically damaging, overly time-consuming, money-wasting, and socially awkward.
  • by kad77 ( 805601 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:13AM (#18675971)
    As much as I find it amusing to see these MMORPG wastoids be voluntary drawn out of society (I do oppose the China's big brother methods, though), I am happy to see a force intervening.

    These sad souls need guidance, rehab, a life, something outside the warm cocoon of fat rolls and 3d dwarf landscapes.
  • by SocratesJedi ( 986460 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:18AM (#18676041) Homepage
    This claim seems to amount to "Because your government is wrong about certain topics, clearly every citizen of that government has no standing to be critical of any other government." No individual citizen has the capacity to control government policy so it seems to me a bit silly to claim that we all must have faulty reason when speaking on foreign governmental matters as a result of our government's lack of vision.
  • Also... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:22AM (#18676097) Homepage Journal
    The USA does this quite a bit, and we really don't have so many subversive groups, because the way that it is done makes their subversive groups look like fringe crazies.

    It helps a lot that in many cases, the subversive groups are fringe crazies.

  • I'm actually quite surprised I had to read this far down in the comments to find someone else who caught that.

    Hearing China freak out about video game and internet addiction so much lately has raised some weird red flags with me. The Chinese government has a lot of reasons to keep people offline, and online gaming is one of those things the Great Firewall of China (the existence of which the government denies) they can't control as tightly. This is another subtle way to keep their citizenry in line.

  • by beef curtains ( 792692 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:25AM (#18676179)

    I agree with you that, in today's society/culture, the chance that many high school kids will exercise moderation when it comes to consuming booze is pretty slim.

    However, do you think if American society didn't pound the "drinking is bad, drinking is naughty, drinking is dangerous, you should NEVER drink" message into kids' heads (as opposed to "alcohol is a beverage that people enjoy with meals & in social settings, but, like anything else, drinking too much is not a good idea"), would the average high school senior binge-drink as much as he currently would when he got his hands on some booze?

    And what if it was legal for said high school senior to go to the grocery store & buy some beer? Might that take away some of the "taboo" of drinking, and therefore the feeling that, upon "scoring" some beer. one needs to guzzle every drop in sight, because, "hey, who knows when we'll get this chance again?"

    Just thinking out loud ;)

  • Re:I disagree (Score:2, Insightful)

    by angryoaf ( 843315 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:27AM (#18676235)
    Human rights or not, I think this is a good thing. I've seen so many kid's lives fall apart because of MMOs because their parents just don't "get it" here in the USA. On the other hand this will force MMO makers to stop making games that require multi-hour grinding sessions to keep people interested and active. They might have to actually come up with *gasps* engaging and entertaining content that can be completed within a reasonable time frame.... for China anyway. The only MMO company with decent North American penetration that tries to do this normally is NC Soft. God bless em and their ugly low budget games.
  • by cyphercell ( 843398 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:37AM (#18676443) Homepage Journal

    ...rap is for idiots without jobs or a real culture.

    Um, poverty is a real culture. I grew up with a single mom that probably messed with drugs a bit more than she should have. Then I messed around with drugs more than I should have. I grew up in poverty and through a lot of hard work I've gotten a college education and so has my sister. The fact that we are all where we are today doesn't for an instant mean that we can't identify with music that targets those living in a "self perpetuating cycle of self-inflicted poverty and crime". The culture of poverty even the culture of crime is about improving your situation. I know it may not seem like it from the outside looking in, but drug addiction and crime are both things that many people do in order to improve their situation if only for a short time. Eating is better than not, getting high is better than jumping off a bridge. Other issues are highly emotional, it's hard when a child or relative dies because you cannot afford proper medical treatment, it's hard when someone becomes an alcoholic rather than a moderate drinker, it's hard when your parents argue every night because of bills, it's hard for people who are black and cannot afford a train ticket in order to look for work. You sit on a high horse claiming that this music contributes to the problem, when you do this you take focus away from the real problems, like drug addiction, lack of education, lack of jobs and a general lack of hope a lot kids face every day. You also apply a double standard when you don't say the same of art like Tom Sawyer, Gangs of New York, and many other stories, movies and songs that stretch back to the begining of man.

  • by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:41AM (#18676485) Journal
    > I think the distinction between "government" and "family" is actually a little artificial

    I think this is one of the most wrong things I've ever read.

    A parent has a direct compelling desire to protect and nurture his/her child. The parent has intimate knowledge and experience of that child's unique requirements. The parent has a genetic drive to insure the child's welfare. I can tell you as a parent that this drive is powerful and in the same realm as the drive for food and shelter. I feel the need to care for my child the same way I feel the need to eat.

    The "government" is not a single entity, but the resultant vector of millions of competing agendas and forces. As such it doesn't "care" for any child and it doesn't have knowledge of any child. It can only set broad policies that hopefully indirectly cause "good" but often cause "bad" in it's pursuit of particular agendas.

    Corporations and Governments are not people. They are not living entities, although we often treat them as such legally.
    To say the "government" can care for a child is simply incorrect. A teacher, a nanny, a social worker, a lawyer and a congressman may be affecting a child, but there is no such person as "the government".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:46AM (#18676579)
    This is pure speculation at the most. When those kids are not playing games, they have more time to waste on internet forums etc. and better chance of getting the information that the government dislike. When they are all addicted to games they are nothing more than a spoiled generation, and I doubt any of them will have the guts to put put against the government. You people need to stop criticizing China for things you made up.
  • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:54AM (#18676721) Journal
    Emphasis mine:

    You really should look up the industrial revolution, and how many, many governments suddenly found themselves forced with the decision to either change to a more open form of government, or face open revolt.

    Good working conditions actually give people inspiration to try to change their government
    Since when did the industrial revolution create good working conditions? It did the opposite -- made small farming not tenable, drove workers to the cities where they, if they were lucky enough to have jobs, faced awful working conditions. Mass unemployment provided the time and incentive for overthrow of government.

    If you're looking at philosophical movements among the wealthy, sure. Such activities require financial independence. But as for mass political movements, economic dissatisfaction is almost always required.
  • by MeanderingMind ( 884641 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:58AM (#18676775) Homepage Journal
    While it is true that the majority of 13375p43kers, beggars and ninjas are youth, there are numerous adults who do such things as well. Hence why many "adult" guilds have the qualifier "mature".

    Having been intelligent and literate at 14, and having met people age 30 with the maturity of a toddler, I know there are exceptions on both sides. With the anonymity of the internet, it's best to judge someone by the content of their character and not by their supposed age.
  • by MeanderingMind ( 884641 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:01PM (#18676823) Homepage Journal
    But the latter image is more humorous! Although it's one of those "I can't believe I'm laughing at something to horrible" cases.
  • by MeanderingMind ( 884641 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:12PM (#18676997) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if there are technical terms separate short and long term addictions.

    People call MMORPGs an addiction because up until the point where you burn out they exhibit all the symptoms of it. Your social life does suffer, other games are left unplayed in favor of the MMO, chores are put off (well, this happens anyway) etc. The crucial difference, insightfully noted by you, is that instead of finding something harder or being perpetually enslaved there is a sudden burn out and the "addiction" ends.

    I'd still qualify MMOs as addictive, but they aren't perpetual or ever increasing. I'd almost say that's their saving grace.
  • by Pakaran2 ( 138209 ) < minus author> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:23PM (#18677209)
    Saying the big human rights problem with China is their restriction of online gaming is like saying the problem with Bob Jones University is not supporting Linux on the network. []
  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:38PM (#18677459) Homepage Journal
    You think that the under 18 crowd is the leetspeek, ninja looters, griefers & beggars group? You obviously haven't met these people in real life. Some of the worse have kids!!!

    Let alone the fact this is the typical selfish reaction from people who only think freedom works when someone else doesn't do something they don't like.

    no, the solution is for you to ignore the people who cause you grief in these games or just don't play them. Most MMORPGs have methods to ignore the very people you speak of. Use it, never suggest to a politician new ways to thwart our rights.
  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:48PM (#18677665) Journal
    Sadly, it's not that simple. We all like to pretend that surely only kids do this and that, and grown ups are all responsible and polite and whatnot. Dream on.

    Point in case, I actually know a mid-40's mid-level manager who speaks l33t in MMOs. Shocked the heck out of me to hear (ok, read) him online chatting in what I imagined to be typical loser-kid speak. The poor sap probably imagines that adopting that lingo makes him all cool and hip online.

    I know a guy in his 50's whose online life consists pretty much of being a die-hard ganker. That's how he gets his jollies. Ganking newbies.

    Also, let's just say there must be a reason why the stereotype about all the "horny naked teenage female" characters online is to assume it must be a fat 40-year-old guy, and not, say, that it must be a 14 year old guy. 'Nuff said.

    Conversely, I've been grouped with more than enough 14 year olds and even (according to himself) a 11 year old, that could actually play the game pretty darn well and functioned perfectly well in a group.

    Now I'm not saying that either covers 100% of the group. ("All generalizations are false, including this one.") Just that you can't take it for granted that kids = "leetspeek, ninja looters, griefers & beggars", and adults = cool.

    As for the nanny-state part, actually I hope that it's _not_ possible to bank hours. The chinese have my sympathy, but from a selfish bastard point of view: maybe having to deal with the chinese market will finally hammer it into everyone's head that 40-man 8-hour raids are _not_ fun. If it's not possible to do it in 3 hours, including getting the group, that should be anyone's hint that it's probably not that much fun. If you end up having some sort of _duty_ to the guild to be there daily at hour X, because 39 others depend on you, it's not fun. Time sinks are ok only when done in moderation, not when you need to quit your job or give up sleep to even be able to join.

    Again, I'm aware that it's a very selfish and nasty thing to say, cheering at someone else's problems. So don't take it too seriously. But, still, if it's happening anyway, it might as well give some designers some clue.
  • by FooBarWidget ( 556006 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @01:26PM (#18678323)
    It's because of the culture. I don't know whether you've noticed, but Asian parents tend to put a lot of value in studying. They want their children to study hard and to go to a good university and to get a good job. The thought of your own child being addicted to games and neglecting school is the fear of every Chinese parent.

    You know, not every government decision has to be associated with suppression and regime.
  • by partenon ( 749418 ) * on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @02:35PM (#18679591) Homepage
    Dude, I read everything you wrote. I have only three words to say: you are sick.
  • by samsamsamj ( 1086689 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @03:07PM (#18680067)

    Do you have to resort to the deep rooted stereotype whenever talking about anything you don't really know or understand? I'm so tired of the typical rants here about China that I actually spend the time register and say something different.

    Fact: China has a long way to go in comparison to most western countries on banning things, esp in the minor protection department. Think of all the hassles you've got to go through to buy alcohol, or to go to a movie and left the kids home. Think of all those regulations you've got to study to do anything kid related, be it starting a day care or get licensed as a school teacher.

    Fact: The communist party in China is neither more evil nor more foolish than the party you vote for or vote against. The so-called "China style communism" is neither more repressive nor more rigid than the church doctrine you believe or disbelieve. Tell you what, when I first came to the US, my first ever and the only bible study (hard sold to me by a co-worker) reminded me dearly of the culture revolution style meeting my parents described to me. We Chinese don't do that sort of things anymore, ever since I was born. But it's still alive and kicking here. Talking about the brain wash, ha.

    Fact: Most Chinese don't really care about the democracy or freedom of speech you cherish so much, at least for now. We certainly don't want the freedom to defend ourselves by owning a rifle. If you really want to export your ideology I'd say prepare for the culture shock. The last time a friend of mine (born a US citizen) tried to convince me the Taiwan style democracy is good for China I told him the popular saying in China, which is even quoted by Taiwan's vice president as well as opposition party leader as true, "if you haven't been to Taiwan, you won't realize the culture revolution is still on-going".

    Fact: The shear fact that you're having a hard time believing these is the proof of how your democracy and freedom of speech has failed to provide you with a clear view on what's going on in the world. Think harder, and think out of the box, then maybe someday you'll make sense of the things happening across the ocean.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling