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  • Kyle Chua

China Wants To Limit the Youth’s Daily Smartphone Time

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

China doesn't want its youth spending too much time on their smartphones.

Smartphone
Credit: Reuters

According to Reuters, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has drafted a law that would limit the smartphone time of children under 18 years old to a maximum of two hours per day. Those between ages eight to 15 would be limited to an hour per day, while those under eight would be limited to 40 minutes.


The internet regulator also wants smart device makers to introduce what it calls minor mode programmes that would bar the youth from accessing the internet on mobile devices between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The only apps that aren't restricted during the period are regulated education products and emergency services. Parents should also have the ability to opt out of minor mode if they choose to do so.


The proposal is meant to combat smartphone and internet addiction among China's youth, which local authorities believe can hinder growth and development.

Smartphone
Credit: Reuters

News of the proposal has tech investors concerned, with shares of Bilibili, Kuaishou and Tencent Holdings, among others falling on Wednesday, 2 August. "A lot of effort and additional costs to properly implement these new regulatory requirements," a lawyer at Shanghai Shenlun told Reuters. The cost of non-compliance could also be high, so it's expected that some Chinese internet giants could consider banning minors from using their services altogether.


The CAC's proposal, however, has yet to be passed, and is still open to public consultation.


The CAC previously capped the time the youth were allowed to play online video games to three hours per week.


Meanwhile, video-sharing apps like the aforementioned Bilibili and Kuaishou have for several years now included "teenage modes" that restrict users' access to certain content. These modes also cap how much time they could spend on the app. ByteDance's Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok, for example, prohibits minors from using it for more than 40 minutes.

 
  • China's internet regulator has drafted a law that would limit the smartphone time of children under 18 years old to a maximum of two hours per day.

  • Those between ages eight to 15 would be limited to an hour per day, while those under eight would be limited to 40 minutes.

  • The proposal is meant to combat smartphone and internet addiction among China's youth, which local authorities believe can hinder growth and development.

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