Identity verification – a necessary evil

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Have you ever logged onto a game to have some fun for a while, but then when you logged off, you realized a few hours have passed? As games are designed to be addictive, it is easy for people, especially youngsters, to fall prey to addiction. As children lack self-control and time management skills, they are more vulnerable to game addiction. All around the globe, there have been many cases that children are so drawn into the virtual world of gaming that tragedies happen, causing the loss of eyesight or even death .

It seems that there is no way other than the intervention from parents to stop kids from playing games around the clock. But things have changed, at least in China. In some Chinese cities, gamers are required to verify their identities with the data base before they can log in to play certain games. If the gamer is younger than 18 years old, there is a time limit on playing that game and also a limit of the game transactions. For a player who is younger than 12, the restriction is even greater. It serves as an anti-addiction measure to the often unsupervised young gamers. While some critics think it is an authoritarian law to curb people’s freedom of game, I think it is a necessary evil to put a stop to the problem of game addiction.

To commence with, this measure can potentially save young gamers from the adversary effects of addiction, one of which is health. With the inventions of smart phones and the widespread usage of the Internet, never has gaming got so convenient and accessible. It brings people the joy of gaming but at the same time considerable health concerns. When staring at the small screen of a mobile phone for a long period of time focusing on an intense gaming round, it is easy for our eyes to become overstressed and the blue rays emitted from the gadgets will also damage our eyes. Also, when playing games, holding the position of tilting the head down will cause a neck injury over time. The confluence of these impacts of playing games, especially the mobile ones for an extended period of time is virulent to young gamers’ still-developing body. So with the anti-addiction measure in effect, the impact on health by gaming will be at least limited, because the time of gaming is greatly curtailed. So some extreme cases like 2000 degrees of myopia could be avoided.

Another reason supporting the measure is to ensure young players to have a balanced lifestyle. Many of them often willingly sacrifice their sleeping time in exchange of some virtual points in online games. Some games like Fate Go Online, which has the nickname “liver-costing” from players, force players to invest a few hours of their leisure time to gather enough game resources, which causes young players to give up rest, grades, social activities and other aspects of life. This is obviously detrimental to their whole-person development, ruining their grades and interpersonal relationships. But with the measure, young players cannot extend their gaming time further than the limits, ensuring their lives are not entirely occupied by gaming, giving time to vital things in life like studying and going out to play, which are beneficial to their development.

Aside from the advantages to the young players, the measure has also some unprecedented positive impacts to the game industry as a whole. It may be surprising to many because it seems destructive to game companies. First, as gamers are required to verify their identities, the game companies can know exactly the ages of their dear players. So it can adjust their game content according to the players’ ages to make it more favourable to the average player base. What’s more, as the time of playing is limited, it encourages the game companies to prefer quality to quantity, providing short but good gaming experience rather than long but dull and repetitive game time to players. In addition, the limits on how much money a young player can put into the game will inevitably force game companies to give up the pay-to-win policy on their games. As a result, the game quality will be enhanced and it can improve the game industry on the whole. For the sake of the physical and mental well-beings of young gamers and from the perspective of gaming companies themselves, this measure sounds evil but it is actually doing good for them. As this policy is only enforced in China now, I hope the other companies that genuinely care for their players to be proactive and follow suit and put forward similar policies and measures. Many people call gaming as electronic opium but I think with regulations like these, this bad reputation of gaming can be vindicated. All in all, to shoulder social responsibility and reap other potential benefits, other companies should give up the concept of thriving on more playtime and do something to protect young gamers