On Saturday, Douyin parent company Bytedance announced they would be limiting access to the app for children to 40 minutes a day, in line with the Chinese government’s push to curb “internet addiction” among its youth.
Certain limitations: ByteDance’s new control called “youth mode,” makes it so that children aged 14 and younger may only access Douyin, China’s domestic version of TikTok, for up to 40 minutes a day between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., according to Reuters.
- On their WeChat post on Saturday, the company suggested parents should “help their children complete the process in order to enter youth mode” to ensure the policy is being followed, South China Morning Post reported.
- In addition to the new mode, ByteDance also launched Xiao Qu Xing, or “Little Fun Star,” a TikTok-like app that features educational content designed for children. The new app comes with the same youth mode installed, but parents can adjust the setting and reduce the time their children can watch from 30 minutes to 15 minutes per day.
- Last month, technology conglomerate Tencent also released a youth mode for their messaging app WeChat that restricts children from using some of the app’s features. The company was sued by the Chinese government for in August over one of their features, Reuters reported.
Online restrictions: In August, China’s National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) announced children under 18 can only play video games between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
- In 2019, the Chinese government placed an online curfew banning children under 18 from playing online games between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. They were also restricted to only 90 minutes of playing time on weekdays and three hours on weekends.
The data: While the Chinese government continues its push to restrict youth from spending more time online, some tech companies have presented data suggesting only a small portion of their revenue comes from children.
- Tencent said 2.6% of its gross gaming revenue came from players under 16 years old, while Bibili said minors only contributed 1% to the company’s gaming revenue. Douyin’s viewers aged 24 and below have also dropped, comprising 85% of its total viewers in 2017 to 29.7% in March.
Featured Image via Pandemic (left), GeorgeMasonTV (right)