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Big Mother Is Watching You (And Other Awful Puns)

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Less fun than recess, but more fun than making 3DS screens

As the Chinese government grapples with the problem of online gaming addiction, parents are being encouraged to take initiative in tracking their children's online activity. The Register of the UK reports that "Starting next month, a new 'parental watch project' will go into effect that will require online gaming companies to have a web page and call center hotline for parents to monitor their children's gaming habits."

Surveillance and censorship has always been a problem under China's one-party State -- The Golden Shield Project being the most well-known example -- but the new policy carries with it the guise of legitimacy by encouraging parents, rather than government officials, to decide what is an acceptable amount of gaming time. Parents may limit online gaming for their children, or even ban in altogether.

So how much is too much? The troublesome figure, according to The Register of the UK, is more than two hours per week -- a figure than seems comically mild to most parents on this side of the Pacific. Everyone has undoubtedly heard the cries of mothers telling their children to put down the controller and focus on their homework, but mom's bothersome harping carries a bit more force when it is imbued with the full power of the State.

While the government's response to the internet/online gaming problem may seem draconian in scope, the methods of some "boot camps" for supposed addicts are even more troubling. The Times Online makes mention that one such camp has even used "shock therapy and even fatal beatings," in their rather colorful approach to combating internet and gaming addiction -- or as it is no doubt called at said camp, "Thursday."

It's a contentious issue, one that is certainly more nuanced than the crude simplicities of "freedom vs. tyranny" to which we've become accustomed, and despite the knee-jerk tendency to decry this as yet another in a long line of Orewllian measures put into effect by China's Communist government, the idea of "my house, my rules" is a widely accepted one. What do you think, gamers? Have the new requirements gone a step too far, or are parents within their rights to do as they see fit? Share your opinion in the comments section!

(via Kotaku)

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