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Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use Community of Interest

The Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use Community of Interest brings together addiction and mental health service providers, researchers and subject matter experts in the fields of gambling, technology/Internet use and video gaming to collaborate and share knowledge on emerging trends and clinical best practices.

  • In 2021 China imposed restrictions on video game play for under 18’s, 1 hour of play Fri, Sat, and Sun between 8pm and 9pm. An intervention China said was required to “pull the plug on a growing addiction”, gaming once described as “spiritual opium”. Has this been helpful, should other countries adopt this strategy?

  • In China gaming companies are required to have Real-name verification systems in place, as well as face recognition systems when suspicious game play outside of the 1 hr is suspected (under 18’s using guardian logins to access more game time). Should other countries have stricter safety measures such as this?

  • China has increased frequency and intensity of inspections for online gaming companies to help ensure time limits and anti-addiction systems are in place
Original Post

An article titled, "Draconian policy measures are unlikely to prevent disordered gaming from the Journal of Behavioural Addictions sheds some light on this and I think it's a good read. From the article:

"Videogame play is normal for children worldwide, and like other leisure activities can lead to benefits for the majority and problems for a minority. Problematic or disordered play results from the interaction of multiple risk factors that are not addressed by draconian policy measures. Identifying these factors through stakeholder-engaged research and current evidence will be much more likely to succeed in preventing disordered gaming and promoting youth wellbeing."

I think that these policies may actually have backfire effects, as it decreases access for younger individuals without them developing self-regulation skills of playing that they might learn more naturally without restrictions. By removing access to games so heavily, it might increase the perceived value of games which makes it a bigger problem for the population that are more prone to problems in the first place. I think policy related to teaching kids regulation skills (including regulating ones own gaming) can be applied more widely to a host of different problems, would be less paternalistic and have fewer potential backfire effects.

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