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We must stop children getting addicted to online gaming

20 16 28

In an announcement that must have struck dread into the hearts of millions of children and teenagers, the Chinese government recently set out a new policy to restrict online games for those under 18 to just three hours a week.

While unpopular with young people as well as gaming companies, it does pose the question whether other countries need to look into the issue of children being increasingly consumed by online gaming.

The online gaming industry is massive. In 2020, the global online gaming market generated approximately $21.1bn in revenue, translating to a record 21.9 percent growth compared with the previous year. There are approximately one billion online gamers worldwide, of which more than 10 percent are Chinese children.

Online games, and the platforms that support them, are becoming increasingly good at ensuring eyeballs remain glued to screens for as long as possible. They are heavily incentivised because it helps them make money through advertising revenue and in-game services. For example, Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch made more than $100m in advertising revenue alone in the first quarter of 2021, in part through enabling users to engage with 71 million hours of gaming streams daily.

Children who otherwise might be playing outdoors and making real friends, learning a skill, such as playing an instrument, or studying, are instead playing addictive online games.

The rapid enhancements in technology have made it all too easy for parents and children alike to rely........

© Al Jazeera

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