China Proposes Two-hour Daily Limit On Children’s Phone Screen Time

China’s cyberspace regulator announced that children under 18 should only use smartphones for a maximum of two hours a day. This news caused tech company shares to drop. 

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) requested smart device providers to create “minor mode” programs that would restrict internet access on mobile devices for users under 18 from 10 pm to 6 am.

The CAC proposed reforms that require providers to set time limits. 

Users aged 16 to 18 would be allowed two hours of usage per day, while children aged eight to 16 would get one hour. 

Children under eight would be allowed just eight minutes. However, the CAC also suggested that service providers should allow parents to opt out of these time limits for their children.

Investors were disappointed as shares of Chinese tech firms mostly declined in Hong Kong’s afternoon trade after the CAC released its draft guidelines. 

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The CAC stated that the guidelines were open to public feedback until September 2nd. Bilibili’s shares fell by 6.98 percent, and Kuaishou’s shares dropped by 3.53 percent. Tencent Holdings, the operator of the social network app WeChat, saw its shares close 2.99 percent lower.

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According to Xia Hailong, a Shanghai Shenlun law firm lawyer, the rules would pose a headache for internet companies.

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“A lot of effort and additional costs to properly implement these new regulatory requirements,” he said.

“And the risk of non-compliance will also be very high. So I believe that many internet companies may consider directly prohibiting minors from using their services.”

In response to growing concerns about myopia and internet addiction among young people, authorities have taken several measures in recent years.

In 2021, the government imposed a curfew for video game players under 18, significantly impacting gaming giants like Tencent.

Video-sharing platforms such as Bilibili, Kuaishou, and ByteDance have provided “teenage modes” since 2019, restricting users’ access to content and limiting usage duration. 

For instance, ByteDance’s app Douyin limits teenagers to using it for 40 minutes.

These proposed rules indicate a potential shift in the regulatory approach towards the technology industry in Beijing. There are signals that the years-long regulatory crackdown on the tech sector might be easing, with authorities now expressing intent to support the development of tech giants.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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