In an effort to combat internet addiction and instill “good morality” and “socialist values” in young people, China is putting up new regulations to limit how much time children and teenagers can spend on their phones.

The leading internet censorship body in China, the Cyberspace Administration of China, has proposed that all mobile devices, apps, and app stores have a built-in “minor mode” that limits daily screen time to a maximum of two hours per day, depending on the age group.

If authorized, the limits would increase the scope of recent policies Beijing has implemented to limit children’s screen time and their exposure to “undesirable information.”

The proposed regulations would automatically close internet applications for kids and teenagers using devices in minor mode when their allotted time periods were up. They are available for public comment until September 2nd. Also available to them would be “age-based content.”

The mode would prevent anyone under the age of 18 from accessing their displays between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Only 40 minutes a day of phone use would be permitted for kids under eight, while an hour would be allowed for kids aged eight to sixteen. Teenagers aged 16 to 18 are permitted two hours.

A reminder to take a break after using a gadget for more than 30 minutes will be sent to users of all ages.

Additionally, the draft advises mobile internet service providers to aggressively provide content that “disseminates core socialist values” and “builds a sense of community of the Chinese nation.”

Certain educational and emergency services would not be subject to the time limits, and parents would be able to overrule them.

In recent years, “Internet addiction” has become a significant social issue, giving rise to a boot-camp-style treatment facility sector that is frequently scientifically suspect and occasionally deadly.

“I believe it is good. On the one hand, it can safeguard their vision because many young children find it difficult to stop themselves from viewing something they enjoy, according to a mother of two in the Zhejiang region of eastern China who wished to remain anonymous.

However, she added, “as parents, it’s much simpler to limit our children’s screen time.” Most importantly, the minor mode’s content is more uplifting and wholesome.

China’s national health is now at risk due to myopia, which some experts attribute to excessive screen time or a lack of sunlight exposure for young people.

According to the China Internet Network Information Center, 1.07 billion of the 1.4 billion people living in China have access to the internet, making it one of the countries with the greatest internet user populations. As of December, about one in five users were 19 years of age or younger.

According to a father of two in Zhuhai, southeast China, youngsters occasionally use their parents’ accounts to play online, the success of the new suggested procedures may depend on parental buy-in.

The law may be effective in limiting screen time and “assisting parents in supervising the children.”

Even adults, he said, “need it.”

effect on tech companies
Tech businesses, who are normally held accountable for enforcing regulations, may have difficulties as a result of the new regulations.

The idea comes as a harsh, protracted crackdown by Chinese regulators on the country’s IT giants looks to be coming to an end.

Following the disclosure of the new regulations, the Hong Kong-listed shares of some of the largest internet companies in the nation finished substantially lower on Wednesday.

Wechat’s operator, Tencent (TCEHY), finished with a slight loss of roughly 3%. Bilibili (BILI), a video-streaming app, lost 7% of its value, while Kuaishou, a competitor, lost 3.5%. Weibo, a platform similar to Twitter, finished 4.8% lower.

With the exception of Weibo, which was trading roughly 1% lower on Thursday, the companies were trading flat to higher.

Chinese censors tightened earlier restrictions two years ago by forbidding internet gaming by minors during the week and limiting it to just three hours on the weekends.

In tandem with Beijing’s demand for greater regulation, some digital companies established policies allowing for additional parental controls around that time.

The “teenage mode” on Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok, set a daily time limit of 40 minutes for users under the age of 14 on the short-form video app.

Another well-known video app with this feature is Kuaishou.

Internet users had to sign up using their true names in earlier attempts. Regulators required all online platforms to confirm users’ genuine identities in order for them to post comments or like postings last year.


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