The battle between video games and "Internet addiction"

  In the current Chinese context, "game" often refers to video games.

In the more than 20 years of rapid development of China's informatization, "games" have been repeatedly subject to disputes such as "Internet addiction" and "electronic opium".

  On June 1, 2021, the newly revised "Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Minors" (hereinafter referred to as the "Unprotected Law") was implemented, focusing on increasing and improving the relevant regulations to prevent minors from indulging in games. Real identity authentication for participating in online games, game time limit, etc.

This is known on the Internet as "the most stringent anti-addiction policy in history".

  One year after the implementation of the new regulations, the controversy over "games" continues.

  changed child

  After half a year, Wen Jie still often remembers that because her daughter had charged more than 3,000 yuan for the game without authorization, her family suddenly became a battlefield: her husband beat her daughter, and her daughter went on a hunger strike.

At that moment, she felt as if she had "lost her daughter".

Since then, her daughter has also become "so indifferent and so unfamiliar".

  She attributes the doom to her daughter's addiction to "games."

  A similar thing happened at Zhang Haining's house in a village in northern Fujian.

In the summer of 2020, Zhang Haining accidentally found out that one of his bank cards had more than 2,000 yuan in game spending in half a year.

He called his 10-year-old son Yangyang to ask him a question, and Yangyang admitted hesitantly, "Fifty or 100 charges at one time, many times, and deleted all the deduction text messages."

  From then on, Zhang Haining banned his son from playing mobile games, and his son promised, "Actually, he is trying his best to play it secretly." Because of this, there was a lot of trouble in the family.

  In order to prevent his son from playing secretly, Zhang Haining hid old mobile phones in cabinets, jars, and clothes.

But they were all dug up by the son.

The son will also come to the mobile phone for reasons such as reading school announcements and checking subject assignments.

On several occasions, Zhang Haining was playing a game when he caught the child.

  "What can I do? It's just a few criticisms at most." Zhang Haining said, "The child said he couldn't do homework, so he had to check it on the Internet on his mobile phone. I couldn't help but check it for him."

  Wen Jie felt an "unprecedented despair".

In April of this year, when Wen Jie was doing laundry for her daughter, she accidentally damaged a note she left in her jeans pocket. "On it was written the QQ number her classmate gave her." The daughter picked up a stool and broke it. Then, he yelled at Wen Jie some "very dirty words", then slammed the door and left.

  Wenjie was heartbroken.

In her impression, when Xiaohui was in elementary school, she would clean the table, cook noodles for herself, and make shoes with her to sell.

Wen Jie believes that video games have changed her daughter.

  Where does "addiction" come from

  Why are children "fascinated" by video games?

Sun Hongyan, director of the Children's Research Institute of the China Youth Research Center, explained at the "5th Tencent Game Developers Conference" that video games are a social platform for modern teenagers, and he wants to socialize with friends through playing games.

  "The levels and goals in the game are very clear. If you kill this monster, you will be able to level up. Set a small goal and continue to reward it after you achieve it, which can stimulate the secretion of more dopamine." Associate Professor Shang, Peking University School of Education Junjie once analyzed that the reason why children love to play video games is to enjoy the accompanying physiological stimulation.

  Rao Yichen, a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Hong Kong, has done fieldwork related to "internet addicted teenagers".

He believes that the design of many popular games today "take advantage of the weakness of human nerves", and each game gives people "short, flat and fast" stimulation, and it is more difficult for children to resist this kind of stimulation.

Correspondingly, children are prone to fall into video games and cannot extricate themselves.

  Talking to the "internet addicted teenagers", Rao Yichen found that most of them could objectively realize that they had spent too much time or money on video games, "I just couldn't help it."

  Twenty years of "anti-addiction"

  In fact, China began to supervise and regulate the participation of young people in video games as early as 20 years ago.

Initially, however, these attempts had little effect.

  In recent years, a number of Internet companies have reached cooperation with the Ministry of Public Security on the identity authentication system, and the situation has improved.

  In October 2019, the State Press and Publication Administration issued the "Notice on Preventing Minors from Indulging in Online Games", "It is proposed that online game companies shall not provide game services for minors in any form from 22:00 to 8:00 the next day." "Users between the ages of 8 and 16, the single recharge amount shall not exceed 50 yuan, and the monthly recharge amount shall not exceed 200 yuan" and other requirements.

  On August 30, 2021, the State Press and Publication Administration reissued the "Notice on Further Strict Management to Effectively Prevent Minors from Indulging in Online Games", proposing that "all online game companies can only operate on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays. Provide 1-hour service to minors from 20:00 to 21:00 every day." "Game services shall not be provided in any form to users who have not registered and logged in with their real names."

  This has been called "the most stringent anti-addiction policy in history" in the industry.

  In order to cooperate with the policy, large domestic game companies such as Tencent and NetEase have launched parental supervision platforms.

For example, parents can use Tencent's "Growth Guardian Platform" to bind their children's game accounts and monitor their children's game behavior in real time.

According to a Tencent insider, when the system finds that a suspected minor user logs in or consumes, it will require face recognition authentication; for the night login behavior of real-name users over 55 years old, the system will also enable face recognition to prevent minors from fraudulently. Use a parent account or device, etc.

  proper gaming education

  Times have changed, Wen Jie sighed.

When she was young, entertainment with her partners was limited to activities such as skipping rope, or shopping.

Today, their children are immersed in electronic technology and the Internet from birth.

Parents are worried about the future.

  Scholar Liu Mengfei believes, "Because they don't understand video games, parents can only hope that their children will stay away from them completely and play nothing. This is impossible in modern society, so parents are left with a sense of powerlessness."

  In 2015, Liu Mengfei opened the first domestic game research course "Game Research and Gamification" at Beijing Normal University, dedicated to video game research and de-stigmatization.

  "Now when we talk about video games, we mean electronic opium and electronic heroin. In fact, the game industry is very complex and diverse." Liu Mengfei believes that games on the market can be divided into consumer games, production games, etc., different types different games should be managed differently.

  "Many good games come from work games, a kind of games that can bring spiritual touch and have knowledge, culture and aesthetic expression." Liu Mengfei said, but since the rapid development of information technology for more than 20 years, the real work games have been Very rare.

Therefore, in addition to supervising and setting up an anti-addiction system, relevant departments should also give appropriate support to the game, "let game education and game research have a more formal system."

  "The emergence of video games is the trend of the times, and we should not go against the trend. What we can do is to let schools give children correct game education, cultivate their game aesthetics, game time concept, and game consumption concept, so that they can understand , what game is good and what game is not good. In this way, the so-called Internet addiction problem in society may be greatly improved." Liu Mengfei said that this can also change the powerlessness of the parent group.

  (Wen Jie and Zhang Haining are pseudonyms)

  Beijing News reporter Feng Yuxin