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Video Games

It started this week with a call to action from China’s leader, Xi Jinping. Too many of the country’s children need glasses, he said, and the government was going to do something about it. ...
Chinese state media has blamed video games for causing young people to become addicted, lowering their grades and worse. An episode last year, in which a 17-year-old in the southern city of Guangzhou died after playing a smartphone game for 40 hours straight, received wide attention.

As the biggest game distributor in the world’s biggest game market, Tencent has grown fantastically rich in recent years. ...
Last year, the Communist Party’s official mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, called the Tencent-developed battle game Honor of Kings a “poison” on young minds. In response, the company imposed limits on the amount of time young people could spend playing it each day. ...
In China, bad eyesight has become an increasingly common childhood scourge. The state news agency Xinhua reported this week that Mr. Xi was moved to act after reading a press report on the subject. Nearly half of all Chinese are nearsighted, according to Xinhua. ...
The resulting plan, issued on Thursday by the Ministry of Education, directs China’s media regulator to limit the number of new games approved for distribution, although it does not suggest a specific limit. It also encourages the regulator to explore measures to limit the amount of time minors can spend playing games, and to consider a system for rating games for age appropriateness.

Other recommendations in the notice include improving physical education in schools, limiting the amount of written homework given to elementary school students and improving lighting conditions in classrooms.

The link between screen time and myopia, while popularly held, is a matter of continuing study among scientists. A 2015 report by the World Health Organization cited research indicating that nearsightedness was related to less time spent outdoors and more time doing activities such as reading, studying and focusing on screens.
- Raymond Zhong, Too Many Chinese Children Need Glasses. Beijing Blames Video Games., NYT, Aug. 31, 2018


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