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China’s law restricting video gaming for kids isn’t wise — it’s misdirected moral panic

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03.09.2021

Rachel Kowert has a PhD in video-game psychology and is research director of Take This, a nonprofit that provides mental health information and resources to the gaming community and industry.

This week, China announced a law that would prohibit children younger than 18 from playing online video games during the school week and would limit their game time to no more than three hours on weekends. The announcement raised more than a few eyebrows among parents and researchers, and in some circles prompted gallows humor. (“Hmm, if only an authoritarian government could step in to limit my kids’ game time!”)

But as a parent and research psychologist who has been studying the uses and effects of video games for more than a decade, I found the news troubling.

We don’t need government regulation on leisure time. We need better media literacy on what games are and what they’re not, especially as they promise to remain the dominant form of media consumption in the 21st century. And parents need smarter solutions for finding a balance between their children’s digital and nondigital lives.

China restricts young people to playing video games three hours a week

Video games have been scapegoated as a major cause of society’s ills for more than 40 years. While distrust of new media is nothing new — we’ve seen........

© Washington Post


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