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Vietnam restricts online gaming over youth concerns

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Overnight internet access has been shut down at public cafes
  • The government has also stopped game advertisements
  • Authorities said the move was prompted by concerns about the impact on youth
RELATED TOPICS
  • Vietnam
  • Online Gaming

(CNN) -- Vietnam's Ministry of Information and Communications has cut off overnight public Internet access in businesses and banned advertisements of online games pending new regulations amid a public outcry over the games' influence on youth, the state-run news agency reported.

The move also temporarily stopped the licensing of online games. Vietnamese officials announced the decision Tuesday and said it would remain in effect until the end of the year.

Government officials said they hope to crack down on games with violent, gambling and pornographic content and rate the games, according to VietNam News.

The crackdown on online games follows local reports which have blamed an increase in juvenile crime and school truancy on the influence of and addiction to online games.

Some have complained that youths spend too much time and money playing online games. In addition, violent and sexually explicit games have been blamed for many recent crimes.

Online gaming attracts an estimated 2 to 3 million youth in Vietnam.

A recent survey conducted by the Ministry of Education and Training showed 70 to 76 percent of primary school children play online games on weekdays.

During the weekends, 100 percent of respondents said they played online games, the news agency reported.

The country has 22 licensed gaming companies which license 93 games. Internet shops, or cafes, will not have online access from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. under the ban.