China clamps down on youth “internet addiction”
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CAPE TOWN - In the midst of a booming global gaming industry, China has opted to implement various restrictions for under-18s as the government aims to clamp down on “gaming addiction”.
The South China Morning Post reported on Monday that ByteDance had added new time limits to its Chinese version of TikTok, known as Douyin, which limits children under the age of 14 to 40 minutes per day with access to the app between the times of 6am and 10pm.
The Covid-19 pandemic has sparked a surge in gaming and social media activity, and the short video app Douyin has become one of China’s most popular platforms with over 600 million daily active users.
The new policy requires users to authenticate their identities, with ByteDance suggesting “parents help their children complete the process in order to enter youth mode”.
The company also launched a brand new video-sharing app called Xiao Qu Xing which caters specifically for children with educational content and default time limit restrictions.
The video app restrictions follow video game restrictions which were imposed by the National Press and Publication Administration last month.
According to technology news and analysis publication TechCrunch, video gaming companies need to restrict game time for under-18s to three hours a week between the hours of 8 and 9pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Earlier this year, the China Global Television Network reported that the global pandemic had contributed to revenue growth in the gaming sector and increased online demand.
Shanghai’s mobile gaming sector has dominated the gaming industry with revenue growth of US$18 billion in 2020 and has become one of the big players on the international stage as well.