In a predictable fashion, the communist Chinese are attempting to control teenagers’ usage of smartphones, limiting them to two hours a day in an effort to prevent addiction.
(Video Credit: GBNews)
China’s Internet regulator is looking to crack down on the usage of smartphones by teenagers. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) is intending to mandate “minor mode programs” for smart devices that would ban users that are under-18 from accessing the Internet between 10 pm to 6 am according to the Daily Mail. The announcement was made on Wednesday.
The agency also says it would allow users aged 16 to 18 two hours of screen time a day. Users under 16 would only get one hour a day. Users under the age of eight would strangely get eight minutes a day.
The state regulator claims that parents will be given the option to opt out of the daily limits. But remember, the Chinese are subject to social credit scores, and not many parents would opt out as it would affect them.
Tech investors hate the idea and stocks plunged over the floated policy. Shares in Chinese tech firms that are listed in Hong Kong plummeted after the CAC published its proposal. The agency asserted that the policies are open to public feedback until early September. Again, this is communist China, so that statement is highly subjective.
China to limit teenagers’ smartphone use to a maximum of two hours a day in bid to prevent addiction to mobiles
Users under 16 will get just one hour a day under the proposed reforms https://t.co/K2zoWoMEEH
— Clarismelda Aquino (@Clarismelda) August 3, 2023
According to the Daily Mail, “Bilibili and Kuaishou slid 6.98% and 3.53% respectively while Tencent Holdings, which operates the social network app WeChat, closed 2.99% lower.”
An attorney from the Shanghai Shenlun law firm named Xia Hailong pointed out that the rules would be inconvenient for Internet companies.
“A lot of effort and additional costs to properly implement these new regulatory requirements,” he noted.
He also warned that Chinese Internet companies could simply ban users that are under 18 from using their services altogether.
“The risk of non-compliance will also be very high. I believe that many Internet companies may consider directly prohibiting minors from using their services,” the attorney said.
— UAE BARQ (@UAE_BARQ_EN) August 2, 2023
This is nothing new for the Chinese. They have sought to control how teenagers spend their free time before.
There have been major reforms across China’s tech industry in recent years due to concerns over growing rates of nearsightedness and Internet addiction.
The communist government tightened already repressive rules regulating the amount of time children under 18 could spend playing online games in 2021. They were prohibited from playing on weeknights and were given one hour between 8 and 9 pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Those restrictions were first introduced in 2019.
Bilibili, Kuaishou, and ByteDance, which are video-sharing platforms, have offered “teenage modes” since 2019 that restrict users’ access to content and the duration of use.
In 2021, China capped the amount of gaming time for children with the stated aim of fighting addiction, and froze approvals of new games for nine months, hammering the bottom lines of many companies including sector titan Tencent. #China #Internet
— Rangana Shamil Fernando (@ranganashamil) August 2, 2023
ByteDance’s TikTok-like app Douyin reportedly bans teenagers from using it for more than 40 minutes.
Reuters reported, “The proposed rules come after signals from Beijing that a years-long regulatory crackdown on its technology industry has ended. Authorities have said they will look to support the development of tech giants.”
That is a disingenuous claim as tech giants in the communist regime are highly regulated and that is not likely to change. The government may attempt to do so behind the scenes as Big Tech did in the United States by collaborating with the federal government.
TIME reported an incident that coincidentally supported the Chinese crackdown: “Millions in China were shocked earlier this year when video of a 13-year-old boy in Guangxi threatening to hack his father with a cleaver went viral on social media. The reason for the son’s rage: his father had taken his phone away for spending too much time on it. The incident became an extreme example of the dangers of screen addiction that plagues Chinese youth.”
Under China’s Xi Jinping, censorship and repression are spreading fast in the communist domain.
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