China: Online Gaming Is a "Spiritual Opium", Melts Kids' Brains

BOOM widget 116063 The Chinese government is planning to issue new rules for game developers meant to weed out "undesirable" elements of online gaming, Reuters reports. The crackdown is directed as a response to the booming Chinese online gaming industry and growing fears of internet addiction.

"Although China's online gaming industry had been hot in recent years, online games are regarded by many as a sort of spiritual opium and the whole industry is marginalized by mainstream society," said Kou Xiaowei, a senior official of the Chinese government.

Prior to this latest attempt to regulate the industry, the Chinese government had also banned children from internet cafes and established time restrictions for players. Readily available pirated software and an absence of a proper rating system, however, have undermined China's previous efforts to control the online gaming market.

Officials blame internet obsession for the majority of youth crimes in China. The issue was also addressed by educational psychologist Jane Healy, who recently suggested that parents prohibit their children from playing games until the age of seven to avoid stunting healthy brain development.