Tencent tells young Chinese gamers that the 3 hour per week time limit will not be relaxed this summer

In context: For most children, summer vacation is a time of fun and games. But Chinese under-18s won’t enjoy the latter much, at least as far as online variety is concerned. Tencent has told young people nationwide not to expect a relaxation of strict online gambling deadlines during the seven-week holiday, despite rumors to the contrary.

It was August last year when China tightened its already tough restrictions on online gambling for under-18s. Previously, minors could access online games for one and a half hours on weekdays and three hours on holidays and weekends. This has been reduced to just one hour, between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. local time, on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

There had been rumors that the restrictions would be relaxed over the summer, with children allowed to play titles online for an hour every weekday. Tencent Games dashed those hopes with a message that read, “Have you heard that players can play every day during summer vacation? There might be a little misunderstanding.”

“It’s better to breathe fresh air than to get addicted to games,” the company added (via SCMP).

Tencent also warned those under 18 not to buy or rent gaming accounts to circumvent restrictions. It added that a new version of its facial recognition system, introduced last year to prevent minors from using the accounts of older parents, was being implemented.

Unsurprisingly, there are many dissenting voices; one user even compared it to China’s old one-child policy.

China has long had a low opinion of video games, calling them “electronic drugs” last year. It also has a strict game licensing policy – April saw the end of an approvals freeze dating back to July 2021.

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