Multiple departments of the Chinese government said online game operators will be required to provide services that allow parents and guardians to monitor and restrict online game playing among children, China.org.cn reported Tuesday
The implementation of the "Parents' Guardian Project for Minors Playing Online Games" means, beginning March 1, 2011, anyone who can prove their identity as the guardian of a minor can request limitations or total stoppage of their child's access to an online game account.
The move, started on a pilot basis a year ago, is meant to address online game addiction in China. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said the number of teenage internet addicts in the region is around 33 million. The country has around 200,000 internet cafes, according to the report.
The new measure will also require online game operators to have personnel who will monitor parents' requests, and requires companies to set up special web pages for the parent-facing services.
The government document said a school student should play online games for less than two hours a week and spend less than 10 yuan, or $1.50, on playing online games each month.
The online games industry in China saw sales grow 26 percent last year to 32.4 billion yuan ($4.9 billion), according to the General Administration of Press and Publication.
Some experts doubt the measure will be able to curb internet addiction. "It's a governmental gesture rather than an efficient solution," said Shanghai University sociologist Gu Jun.
Liu Kun, a 27-year-old Beijing gamer added, "The kids can easily use a fake adult ID to get back into the game. They can just hide from their parents."