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 statement advises mobile internet service providers to actively 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 center sector that is frequently scientifically suspect and occasionally deadly.
Impact 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.
Xiaomi, Apple, and Huawei, makers of mobile devices, have been contacted by CNN for comment.
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.