Tencent’s new digital contracts will let kids trade good grades for screen time
Gaming addiction is an increasing problem for the world’s biggest gaming market
Want to play your favorite game? Do your homework and chores first.
It’s a fairly common agreement between parents and children around the world. But in China, it could become official after Tencent said it's planning to introduce digital contracts in one of its most popular games to let parents and children trade homework for playtime.
It follows criticism that the game Honour of Kings is causing students to fall behind in their studies and harm their mental health.
“With our proposed feature, children can set up a so-called digital contract so that they can exchange playing time for outdoor activities, housework or studying,” Tencent CEO Pony Ma said in Beijing over the weekend.
To make sure they don’t get ripped off by the deal, “children can ask their friends to witness the signing of the contract,” he added.
Honour of Kings, known as Arena of Valor in the West, is a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game. It features characters adapted from Chinese history and myths and has more than 200 million players, making it one of the most popular games in the world.
But that increasing popularity has led to complaints from parents, teachers and psychologists about the game’s negative effects. Chinese state media even called the game ‘poison’ when a 13-year-old jumped off a building after being scolded for playing the game.
Last year Tencent started limiting play time for users under the age of 12 to one hour each day, which reportedly led to a “black market” in adult accounts.