A House bill has been filed seeking to prevent minors from online game addiction and limit their game hours at computer shops.
House Bill No. 4740, to be known as the "Internet Cafe Regulation Act," aims to limit children's access to computers and other gadgets to prevent addiction and untoward incidents on popular games, to mention a few are Defense of the Ancients (DotA) and League of Legends (LoL).
The bill's author, Valenzuela City 1st District Representative Sherwin Gatchalian, said in a statement released on Sunday that "high-stakes matches involving gambling among gamers, who are usually minors, tend to result in violence when one party becomes dissatisfied with the result of the match."
He also stressed the roles of parents in monitoring their children's access to computer games and websites.
"Dapat din bantayan ng mga magulang kung appropriate ba sa age ng mga anak nila ang games at websites na nilalaro o binibisita ng mga bata," he said.
HB 4740 requires computer shops owners and managers to prohibit admitting minors within school hours and during school days. On weekends, holidays, cancelled school days, or vacation, minors are only allowed up to 7 p.m.
A minor could be allowed inside an Internet cafe during schooldays if he/she presents an I.D. and a written permit or clearance signed by the parent, or either the school principal or teacher-in-charge. The minor is still not permitted to stay beyond 7 p.m. unless accompanied at all times by a parent or legal guardian.
Establishments who violate the Act's provisions will be imposed of penalties which could amount up to P150,000 with possible revocation of business permit and license to operate, and worst, closure of establishment.
"How will the youth realize their role in nation-building when the excessive playing of video games in these establishments hinders their development and education?" the bill's explanatory note said.
"The youth will not be able to realize their potential when majority of their time is spent inside computer shops playing games instead of studying," it added.