Chinese children and teenagers will face new restrictions on internet access and smartphone usage in an effort to combat internet addiction, as revealed in recently announced rules on Wednesday.
Starting from September 2, after a public consultation, individuals under the age of 18 will be prohibited from accessing the internet on mobile devices between 10 pm and 6 am.
Moreover, a tiered system will be implemented to manage smartphone usage, allowing a maximum of 40 minutes a day for those under eight years old and up to two hours for 16- and 17-year-olds.
Proposed by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), these rules are among the most stringent globally. However, parents will have the option to bypass these restrictions if they choose to do so.
The CAC stated that these rules aim to enhance the positive impact of the internet, create a favorable online environment, address and intervene in minors’ internet addiction issues, and encourage them to develop healthy internet usage habits.
These measures are part of the broader effort to protect minors online, including ensuring age-appropriate content and minimizing the influence of harmful information.
The Chinese government has been increasingly regulating the domestic tech sector, driven partly by concerns about the impact of digital technology on young individuals. In 2021, they already imposed gaming time limits for children to combat addiction and froze approvals for new games, affecting companies like Tencent.
Following the announcement of these new rules, the stocks of major Chinese internet companies experienced declines, including Tencent’s shares dropping by 3.0% and Baidu’s by 3.75% during trading in Hong Kong.
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