Games companies in China are set to provide special monitoring services to parents in a bid to curb rising levels of Internet game addiction in the country.
Led by the Ministry of Culture, a coalition of eight government departments announced that games companies will be required to implement the ‘parental watch project’ from March 1 to help cut levels of Internet game addiction.
According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the number of teenage Internet addicts in China has risen to around 33 million.
Under the project, which underwent extensive testing in February last year, parents can order the games companies to restrict their children’s online gaming time by setting a daily or weekly limit, or simply imposing a full-on ban.
Games accounts will have to be monitored regularly to help prevent children from playing “improper” games and companies are to be required to set up special web pages and hotlines to support the project.
State run news outfit China Daily reports that the plan advises school kids play online games for no more than two hours per week and limit their spending to 10 yuan (94p) each month - possibly to put an end to the ludicrously ostentatious displays of gaming prowess sweeping the country.
But experts have raised doubts about the effectiveness of the proposed plans. Speaking to China Daily, sociologist from Shanghai University Gu Jun said that, although the plan has been born from good intentions, it does not actually target the problem.
Rather than focusing on the parents, Gu said that the government should instead target the Internet cafés that allow children to play unrestricted online.
“It's a governmental gesture rather than an efficient solution,” he said.