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Japanese prefecture considers restrictions on gaming time for minors

Proposed ordinance in Kagawa Prefecture would limit those under 18 to one hour of gaming per day

A Japanese prefecture is proposing an ordinance that would limit the time minors spend using smartphones, computers, and playing video games to one hour per day.

The Asahi Shimbun reports that Japan's Kagawa prefectural assembly is currently putting the ordinance together in response to what officials feel is a growing dependence on smartphones and games that is having a harmful effect on school and social activities for minors.

In its current form, the drafted ordinance asks parents or guardians to enforce a one-hour-per-day limit on screentime for those under age 18, with 90 minutes allowed on weekends and holidays. It also specifies that minors of junior high school age and younger have devices shut off by 9 p.m., while older children may use them until 10 p.m. It does not include a penalty for violations of the ordinance.

The prefecture hopes that the ordinance will spur broader action by the Japanese government to curb smartphone use and gaming among minors at a higher level.

The draft of the ordinance has been submitted to a committee for consideration, while community members are invited to submit comments. An assembly vote is planned for some time in February.

Though far more expansive and restrictive, China has recently been tightening its own limitations on screentime for minors. The country established new rules on gaming for minors last November that limit daily playtime and in-game spending according to the player's age. Further restrictions limiting games considered violent or pornographic may be on the way.

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Rebekah Valentine: Rebekah arrived at GamesIndustry in 2018 after four years of freelance writing and editing across multiple gaming and tech sites. When she's not recreating video game foods in a real life kitchen, she's happily imagining herself as an Animal Crossing character.
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