There’s no doubt that today’s society has created youngsters with addictions to their technology. When was the last time you saw a group of teenagers who were all talking to each other with no one on their phone at the time? It’s been a while, right? Along with social media, gaming is certainly one of their tech addictions.
China wants to change that with new regulations for young people. They will not be allowed to play video games after 10 p.m., and on weekdays, they’re not allowed to play more than 90 minutes a day. If they want add-ons, they can’t spend more than $57 a month. Should it be the government’s role to decide when young gamers play?
Phil doesn’t think they should and believes it should be up to “parents to maintain control over what their children consume and for how long.” He reminds everyone that it was up to the parents of previous generations to deny their kids what they deemed bad for them. He’s not sure when it changed that it now seems to be a human right to consume anything on the Internet without scrutiny or restriction. He thinks “people need to get a grip.”
He enters into this opinion as a lifelong gamer. He was a games reviewer when his kids were young, so their gaming was free, and he notes now that they’re adults, he thinks they play too much, and he realizes he should have been more firm with them, and they agree. He believes too much gaming, like TV, “rots their brains and kills any spirit of enquiry or creativity.” He thinks there should be game time and life time, but recognizes parents’ right to set those limits.
Sayak believes restricting video game hours can only have the opposite effect, seeing it as a dopamine thing that will draw them into more violent games to compensate for the time they lost, despite research showing violent games are unlikely to cause real-world violence. He does think it harms their studies. “Parents should go old school on this and use video games as a carrot for good behavior – they have to earn it.” He also thinks many games today are overdoing it with the violence, admitting when he was young, he played Mortal Kombat when no one was looking. He figures that and Doom would be nothing compared to what we have today, owing to better CGI and terrifying audio.
Simon thinks the government should have a say over gaming limitations as much as they do over food and health regulations. “If something comes out that’s very clearly unhealthy and parasitic to health, they should make moves to curb it.” He mentions the push to make loot boxes in video games recognized as gambling because kids were getting hooked on the idea and spending a lot of money in the process. “But if it’s just unhealthy habits in general, there should be general health guidelines to follow, and that’s it.” Parents can then choose whether to follow those guidelines, much like we do with recommended daily food guidelines.
Ryan doesn’t think government should have a role in these decisions, as they don’t regulate how much time is spent sitting in front of a TV or staring at a phone. However, he also believes that “predatory practices like loot boxes and similar scammy behavior should be regulated by a consumer protection agency.”
Miguel notes that “when the government becomes nanny for youngsters, it’s only a matter of time before this kind of scenario spreads to adults.” He believes it should be, as it traditionally has been, a parent’s responsibility to manage their child and thinks petitioning the government to take over this responsibility for convenience will lead to even worse results over time.
As the parent to a 23-year-old and a 26-year-old, I went through the gaming restrictions with them. I’m not a fan of the government telling me how to parent. I want to choose my own limitations. If you want to tell me my child shouldn’t own an assault rifle, you’re right, they shouldn’t, and they didn’t. And that is something catastrophic that should be regulated, but not the time they spend gaming.
We have a wide range of opinions above, between regulating, regulating with limitations, and not regulating. Where do you fall with this? Should it be the government’s role to decide when young gamers play? Join our conversation in the comments below.