Chinese authorities have introduced new rules to combat internet addiction among young people. These restrictions, set to be implemented on September 2nd, will prohibit individuals under the age of 18 from accessing the internet on their mobile devices between 10 pm and 6 am. Additionally, a tiered system will be put in place to limit smartphone usage time, ranging from 40 minutes a day for children under 8 years old to two hours for 16- and 17-year-olds.

Considered to be some of the strictest regulations in the world, these rules were proposed by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). However, parents will have the option to bypass these restrictions if they choose to do so. The CAC has stated that the objective of these rules is to promote a positive role for the internet, create a favorable online environment, prevent and address internet addiction problems among minors, and guide them in developing healthy internet habits. These measures will build upon existing initiatives aimed at protecting minors online, such as providing age-appropriate content and reducing the influence of harmful information.

The introduction of these regulations reflects the concerns of Chinese authorities regarding the potential risks associated with digital technology for young people. Earlier this year, China imposed limits on gaming time for children in an attempt to tackle addiction and suspended the approval of new games for a period of nine months. This move had a significant impact on the profits of various companies, including industry giant Tencent. The recent decision to impose restrictions on smartphone and internet use indicates that Beijing’s regulatory control over domestic tech giants remains strong. Following the announcement, the stocks of several leading Chinese internet firms, including Tencent and Baidu, experienced a decline.

These developments highlight China’s proactive approach to addressing the challenges posed by internet addiction and its commitment to protecting the well-being of young people in the digital age.

Links:
BBC: China Curbs Late-Night Teen Usage of Video Games and Smartphones
SCMP: Beijing’s Video Game Ban Hits Tencent and NetEase Share Prices, But Will Also Hurt Tech Sector