[Economic Observation] Technology alone is not enough to prevent addiction to online games

  Our reporter Yang Zhaokui

  According to data recently released by the Shanghai Consumer Protection Commission, during the Spring Festival holiday this year, Shanghai Consumer Protection Commissions at all levels received a total of 185 complaints related to online games.

Among them, in order to bypass the game anti-addiction system, some minors registered with their grandparents’ identity documents and played games “easy”, especially during the Spring Festival, which was frequently online in the middle of the night. concerns about validity.

  Game addiction, a social problem that emerged in the 1990s, has plagued generations of teenagers.

For game anti-addiction, relevant departments have also been working hard to find countermeasures.

  In October 2019, the "Notice on Preventing Minors from Indulging in Online Games" issued by the State Press and Publication Administration stipulates that the length of time that online game companies provide game services to minors shall not exceed 3 hours per day on statutory holidays and other hours. The daily accumulation shall not exceed 1.5 hours.

In this regard, many parents reflect that the standard is still relatively loose, and it is recommended to strictly compress it.

  On June 1, 2021, the newly revised "Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Minors" was officially implemented, and the online game enterprises' anti-addiction responsibility was written into the law, requiring online game service providers to require minors to register and register with their real identity information. Log in to the online game, and make it clear that online game service providers shall not provide online game services to minors from 22:00 to 8:00 the next day.

  More than two months later, the "Notice on Further Strict Management to Effectively Prevent Minors from Indulging in Online Games" issued by the State Press and Publication Administration further required that all online game companies can only operate on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and statutory games. During holidays, 1-hour service is provided to minors from 20:00 to 21:00 every day, and online game services shall not be provided to minors in any form during other hours.

  Major game companies have also responded positively to the regulations of relevant state departments.

Just in January of this year, several game companies successively issued notices on the limit of play during the Spring Festival, stating that during the entire winter vacation, minors can only play games for a maximum of 14 hours.

There are also game companies that have adopted "new tricks" for borrowing, sharing or renting accounts online: frequent use of multiple devices on the same account triggers face recognition; there are stricter measures in head games, all adults over 55 years old. The account night game requires face recognition every time you log in to prevent minors from using their parents' identity information to play games.

  However, according to the situation released by the Shanghai Consumer Protection Committee, although game companies have realized that minors may use their parental identity information to play games, their anti-addiction systems have failed to effectively prevent some minors from playing games.

  This shows that many minors can be kept out of the game through technological upgrades such as face recognition and fingerprint recognition, but this cannot solve the problem of addiction once and for all.

  Game anti-addiction, to a certain extent, is the process of fighting wits and courage with "sacred beasts" and even online black products, and the problem of "breaking defense" occurs. There are cases where "sacred beasts" defraud grandparents and grandparents for authentication, and there are also online black products. Helping minors pass the problem of face recognition system.

Therefore, for the game anti-addiction system to be effective, technology alone is not enough. Ultimately, it requires the joint efforts of government departments, parents, and the society.

  For the relevant government departments, they should increase their efforts to crack down on online black production, so that lawbreakers pay a high price.

For online game operators, they should reflect: Where are the loopholes in the anti-addiction system?

Why are some "grandma generation" accounts frequently online late at night without being "caught"?

How to further optimize the system to avoid similar situations?

  In the process of game addiction prevention, the role of parents is also critical.

Parents should also earnestly perform their guardianship duties, take good care of their identity documents, cancel the password-free setting, or only limit the password-free payment to small-value payments. Before playing games for children, they should pay attention to checking the ID card information of the account to avoid the failure of the anti-addiction system. , to better protect minors.

Especially the grandparents of the child, if they find that the child does not play games at the specified time, they must stop or inform the child's parents in time, and must not ignore or even condone.