Gaming Disorder: China takes action to reduce youth phone addiction
Updated 13:12, 02-Jun-2019
China is also taking action with the increasing domination of cellphone use, especially among young people. A new "restricted mode" can now limit teenage users' screen time. CGTN's Lu Sirui has more.
Stop, swipe, and stare. Youngsters today spend much of every waking hour on their phones. Apps, games and videos have taken priority over other activities. This has already caused complaints from the elder generation.
"We've always told him that it's bad for his eyes. But he told us some of his homework requires communicating with classmates via phone."
"They refuse to talk to us. They are lost in those videos and think we disturb them."
Starting in June, the government is installing a "restricted mode" on most short video platforms, in the hopes of saving teenagers from excessively watching so many of them. This mode will take effect after users manually set their screen time, requiring only for educational and other knowledge videos.
TAO RAN, DIRECTOR ADOLESCENT PSYCHOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT BASE IN CHINA "The excessive use of digital products will harm teenagers' social abilities and delay their cognitive development. This 'restricted mode' will perform better if parents and teachers join the supervision process."
And it's not just young people, all ages of Chinese now face the same issue.
"I play with my phone even when I'm watching TV, or when I'm using my computer or IPad. I have to check it non-stop."
"I use phones for about eight hours every day."
Although the consequences of excessive phone using are less visible than other addictive behaviors, experts warn it's time to set healthy limits.
TAO RAN, DIRECTOR ADOLESCENT PSYCHOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT BASE IN CHINA "In 2018, the World Health Organization only recognized 'gaming disorder' as a mental health disease. But I believe in the future, the excessive use of all digital products will be included, too."
Experts also say spending time engaging in actual reality activities like sports and outdoor games, to properly balance time between that and the virtual world. Lu Sirui, CGTN, BEIJING.