Chinese minors are facing harsh restrictions on mobile phone and internet usage as part of the country’s latest bid to curb perceived internet addiction. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) published draft regulations on Wednesday that would introduce a “minor mode” (according to a machine translation) on devices like smartphones, tablets, and watches that will limit access to content and device usage based on the child’s age.
For example, teens between the ages of 16 and 18 will be restricted to two hours of mobile usage each day under the draft regulations. All devices running “minor mode” — regardless of the child’s age — will be prohibited from accessing the internet between 10PM and 6AM. Some of these restrictions can be manually bypassed by parents. The CAC says online platforms will be responsible for enforcing the new requirements, though no specific penalties were mentioned for companies that don’t comply.
Rules previously introduced to limit online gaming required real-name registrations to restrict access
As noted by Bloomberg, these rules could be a blow to the massively popular platforms like Tencent’s WeChat and ByteDance’s Douyin (the Chinese counterpart to TikTok). Tencent already had to support the introduction of time limitations on online gaming for minors back in 2021 to curb similar fears about addiction. According to Bloomberg, companies in China use real-name registrations in order to comply with access restrictions.