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China begins clampdown on Internet gaming

Playing times limited, boot camps set up
Tue Jul 17 2007, 13:09
ONLINE GAMING ADDICTS in China this week find themselves the target of an offensive by the authorities to wean them off their habit.

The China National Children's Centre estimated that 13 per cent of the country's Internet users under the age of 18 are web junkies. As many as 2.3 million minors may be affected by this disturbing affliction, it said.

Now, eight Chinese ministries including the propaganda ministry, have banded together to put the squeeze on gaming, laying down strict guidelines as to how much time web-heads can stay online.

Meanwhile, gaming junkies are being sent to eight government-funded "rehabilitation camps" being set up around the country, in a response to claims that over wibbling can lead to criminal behaviour. Most inmates are sent involuntarily to the camps by parents worried about their boggle-eyed, sullen and occasionally-twitching offspring.

No new Internet cafes may be set up in the country before the end of the year, while those already open have to install what local media calls "anti-addiction software" on connected computers.

The authorities believe that any more than three hours gaming per day can begin to frazzle your brain. Five hours or more is positively unhealthy.

Internet cafes not limiting their gamers to within the guidelines will be shut down.

There are even reports that games sold in the country will have to be tweaked to shut themselves down when they are played too much.

More here and here. µ


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