Vietnam's Ministry of Information and Communications is placing restrictions on public internet access and banning ads for online games following complaints that games help lead to juvenile crime, according to the country's state-run news agency
. Minister Le Doan Hop announced the decision on Tuesday.
The Vietnam News agency said citizens are concerned about online games' "negative influences on the youth." The restrictions follow public outcry that blamed increasing reports of juvenile crime and school truancy on online games and their allegedly addictive allure.
The government in effect said it would cut off internet access from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. to shops that offer public PC use. Officials will also issue a temporary stop on licensing of online games.
The restrictions are valid through the end of the year, by which time the ministry said it expects the government to approve draft online game regulations. In Vietnam, there are 22 licensed gaming companies and 93 games, according to the report.
Long-term potential solutions to the alleged negative effects of youth online gaming include electronic IDs used to manage citizen's internet usage. Director of the ministry's Electronic Information and Broadcasting Department Luu Vu Hai said the IDs could also help regulate subscribers to mobile devices.
The Ho Chi Minh City executive council is also pushing for limitations on games with violent, gambling and pornographic content.
Vietnam's restrictions come less than a month after China's Ministry of Culture said it would ban online game companies
from using sex to sell their products, and also ban the promotional use of violence and gambling in advertising.