BEIJING (WLNS) – The government of China is tightening its restrictions on children playing video games, limiting them to just three hours per week.

With this change, minors will only be allowed to play games between 8 and 9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays. The new rule takes effect on Wednesday.

This will replace the current restriction of 90 minutes per day and three hours on public holidays. That rule was passed back in 2019.

Chinese state media has been critical of video games in recent weeks, with the state-affiliated newspaper Economic Information Daily referring to them as “spiritual opium.”

However, the restrictions are also politically motivated. The Chinese government has been increasing its restrictions on tech services in general, including online learning and commerce, due to concerns about their growing influence on society.

The new rules are a blow to Chinese technology and video game businesses, which have lost hundreds of billions of dollars in market value since the beginning of the year.