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The Chinese government has banned children from playing games late at night in an effort to crack down on video game addiction in China. The Chinese government is concerned that playing too many video games is harming children’s physical and mental health.

The new regulations ban children under the age of 18 from playing online games between 10pm and 8am. Children will also be limited to 90 minutes of game time on weekdays, extending to three hours on weekends and holidays. In addition, the new rules will limit the amount of money children can spend on online games. Children ages 8-16 can not spend more than 200 yuan ($29) a month. The amount rises to 400 yuan ($57) a month for children between the ages of 16-18.

The monetary limit for children in China follows recent criticism of many online games around the world. Some of the most popular games in the world have been criticised for including in-app purchases of so-called “loot boxes”. These loot boxes can be purchased with real money and give the player a random chance of receiving a valuable in-game item. The odds of receiving a valuable item are often incredibly low. Campaigners and governments around the world have accused these games of introducing gambling to children. In 2018, the Belgian government banned loot boxes from games in their country.

The debate over loot boxes has been intensifying around the world. Video game companies have been aggressively defending the use of loot boxes in games, with some claiming that they are enjoyable. Gamers in Belgium have been supportive of the ban on loot boxes with many believing that they ruin the enjoyment of a game and force players into spending extra money. The ban in Belgium has intensified campaigns in other countries to label loot boxes as gambling and therefore ban them from video games.

However, the situation in China is part of a wider pushback against video games in general. The leader of China, Xi Jinping, has criticised video games for causing problems with Chinese children. He attributed the rise of short-sightedness amongst children in China as being a result of excessive video game playing. Xi Jinping’s disapproval has led to efforts from different government departments in China to tackle the issue. Other limits as a result of the new regulations include banning violent video games and those that feature gambling.

Difficult words

Crack down (phrasal verb): To become tough or strengthen rules.

Monetary (adj): Relating to money.

In-app (adj): Available within an application.

Loot (n): Stolen valuable money or objects.

Intensifying (v): To become stronger.

Aggressively (adv): To act in a forceful way.

Pushback (n): A negative reaction.

Attribute (v): To assign a cause.

Short-sightedness (n): The inability to see far away.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English: Coming Soon!

American English: Coming Soon!

Match the Synonym!

1. Crack down A. Strengthen
2. Monetary B. Stolen valuables.
3. In-app C. Negative reaction.
4. Loot D. Money
5. Intensifying E. Forceful
6. Aggressively F. Assign
7. Pushback G. Become tough.
8.  Attribute H. Can only see close.
9. Short-sightedness I. Available in an application.

True or False?

1. China has banned adults from playing video games at night. T / F

2.  The Chinese government is concerned about children’s health. T / F

3.  Anyone under 18 is prohibited from watching TV after 10pm. T / F

4. There is a limit on how much money children can spend on games. T / F

5. There has been controversy over in-app purchases. T / F

6. Some people are worried adults will be introduced to gambling through these games. T / F

7. Belgium has banned games from having loot boxes. T / F

8. The leader of China believes video games causes far-sidedness. T / F

9. There are no limits on violent video games in China. T / F

10. Other countries have been discussing banning loot boxes. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. has / government / Chinese / The / from / playing / games / children / banned

2. new regulations / ban / under / of / children / playing / The / the age / from / 18

3. not / more / than / ages / Children / 200yuan / can / spend / 8-16

4. children / The / monetary limit / recent criticism / in / China / for / follows

5. has / other countries / Belgium / campaigns / in / in / ban / The / intensified

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English: Coming Soon!

American English: Coming Soon!

Holidays Tackle Supportive
Loot Online Addiction
Valuable Excessive Criticism

The Chinese government has banned children from playing games late at night in an effort to crack down on video game (1)______________ in China. The Chinese government is concerned that playing too many video games is harming children’s physical and mental health.

The new regulations ban children under the age of 18 from playing (2)__________ games between 10pm and 8am. Children will also be limited to 90 minutes of game time on weekdays, extending to three hours on weekends and (3)____________. In addition, the new rules will limit the amount of money children can spend on online games. Children ages 8-16 can not spend more than 200 yuan ($29) a month. The amount rises to 400 yuan ($57) a month for children between the ages of 16-18.

The monetary limit for children in China follows recent (4)____________ of many online games around the world. Some of the most popular games in the world have been criticised for including in-app purchases of so-called “loot boxes”. These loot boxes can be purchased with real money and give the player a random chance of receiving a (5)_____________ in-game item. The odds of receiving a valuable item are often incredibly low. Campaigners and governments around the world have accused these games of introducing gambling to children. In 2018, the Belgian government banned loot boxes from games in their country.

The debate over loot boxes has been intensifying around the world. Video game companies have been aggressively defending the use of loot boxes in games, with some claiming that they are enjoyable. Gamers in Belgium have been (6)______________ of the ban on loot boxes with many believing that they ruin the enjoyment of a game and force players into spending extra money. The ban in Belgium has intensified campaigns in other countries to label (7)________ boxes as gambling and therefore ban them from video games.

However, the situation in China is part of a wider pushback against video games in general. The leader of China, Xi Jinping, has criticised video games for causing problems with Chinese children. He attributed the rise of short-sightedness amongst children in China as being a result of (8)____________ video game playing. Xi Jinping’s disapproval has led to efforts from different government departments in China to (9)____________ the issue. Other limits as a result of the new regulations include banning violent video games and those that feature gambling.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Do you thinks it’s the government’s job to control how long children play games?
5. Are there any laws against games in your country?
6. Do you believe games could be a cause of short-sightedness?
7. Do you think children today have different childhoods from those in the past?
8. Are games popular in your country?
9. Would you like your country to have a law like this?
10. Did you play many video games as a child?
11. Do you agree that “loot boxes” introduce children to gambling?
12. Do you think “loot boxes” should be banned?
13. Have you played a game that had “loot boxes”?
14. Do you think games have any other bad effects on children?
15. Are there any games that you think have a positive effect on children?
16. How long would you let your child play games for?
17. Do you think it will be easy for the government to control how much time and money children spend on games?
18. Is it right to ban violent video games?
19. Do video games have a good or bad reputation in your country?
20. What is your opinion of “free” apps and games that require you to spend money later?