King of Glory is a mobile battle game that young Shanghai students cannot get enough of — but their parents and teachers have had more than enough.
Produced by Tencent, the game allows players to form groups to fight each other.
But Wang Lili, the mother of a 17-year-old high school student, is doing her own fighting — trying to stop the game consuming so much of her daughter's time. "It seems so addictive. She will play all day if I do not stop her."
Wang said her fears about her daughter's addiction had been compounded by a recent news report that a 13-year-old boy in Hangzhou had injured himself by jumping out of a fourth-floor window after his father had confiscated his mobile phone to stop him from playing the game.
Danny Ji, who has just finished primary school, told Shanghai Daily that he and his classmates have been playing the game for more than a year and use a WeChat group to discuss the game. Some of the messages show they are still playing the game at 3am.
"Some of my classmates also buy 'strong roles' or equipment with cash. Some people have spent more than 2,000 yuan (US5) on it," Danny said.
Wang Yang, headmaster of Shanghai Caoyang No.2 High School, said his school has banned playing online games on campus.
"We have told all students that such behavior will be recorded in the comprehensive evaluation system, which will be used in applying for universities," he said. The headmaster called for legislation to fine game producers and operators for allowing teenagers to register and play games.
Chen Yuanyuan, a professor at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics who studies education problems, said the game phenomenon was not a surprise to her as Chinese students needed to relieve the heavy pressure they faced from their studies.
"Many students find sense of achievement and team pride in games," she said. "Our schools and parents should pay more attention to students themselves, instead of their test scores."
She also pointed out that some parents had themselves to blame for their children's game addiction as they allowed children to register and play games on their mobile phones.
Tencent said that most players of King of Glory were young adults, such as college students and office workers.