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China to Implement Strict Internet Restrictions for Youth to Address Addiction and Time Wastage

Date: August 04, 2023

In a bid to curb excessive smartphone usage and internet addiction among the younger generation, China’s Cyberspace Administration (CAC) is introducing new regulations that will impact major online platforms like Tencent and ByteDance.

The draft law, revealed by CAC on Wednesday, outlines restrictions on youngsters’ access to online services during specific hours. From 10 PM to 6 AM, young users will not be allowed to use most online services on their smartphones. Additionally, the proposed regulations suggest that 16 to 18-year-olds will only be permitted two hours of online time per day, while those aged 8 to 15 will have one hour, and children under 8 will be limited to 40 minutes a day.

Certain services deemed beneficial for children’s physical and mental development may receive exemptions, although specifics have not been disclosed yet.

The Chinese government is taking a proactive approach to combat internet addiction, which is believed to be prevalent among the youth. Previous measures included restricting daily online gaming to 90 minutes in 2019, followed by a further tightening in 2021, allowing only one hour of gaming on Fridays, weekends, and public holidays.

Major video platforms like Douyin, Bilibili, and Kuaishou have already introduced youth modes that limit content and usage time for minors. These platforms are even encouraging educational content, such as science experiments, to promote healthy online engagement.

Companies like Tencent, a leading online gaming firm in China, and ByteDance, the force behind the popular short-video platform Douyin, may be directly impacted by these new regulations. In China, it is the responsibility of the companies themselves to enforce these rules.

According to CAC, their recent efforts in promoting youth modes on internet platforms have shown positive results in protecting minors online. The upcoming regulations are expected to further enhance these protective measures and promote healthier online habits among the young population.

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