The Chinese regime plans to restrict the use of mobile phones by those under 18 years of age to a maximum of two hours a day

A boy protects himself from the rain with an umbrella while checking a cell phone, on the floor of the Forbidden City in Beijing (AP Photo / Andy Wong) (Andy Wong /)

The Chinese regime published a draft rule that provides that phones and mobile apps have a specific mode for minors that limits their use by children and adolescents to a maximum of two hours each day.

According to the Cyberspace Administration of China’s draft rules published on its website, the youth mode It should have an automatic switch function, which allows the user to access an interface adapted to their age with a single click, and exit it with parental verification and authorization.

In addition, the youth mode will be divided into five age intervals: under 3 years, from 3 to 8 years, from 8 to 12 years, from 12 to 16 years and from 16 to 18 years.

Depending on the “physical and mental characteristics” of each groupwill be offered content and information “adequate for their development”which would be exempt from the caps, but the agency did not specify what services those will be.

For users under 8 years of age, the total time of using the smart terminal should not exceed 40 minutes each day, while the document suggests listening educational programs and songs for those under 3 years of age.

Young people with their cell phones in a cafeteria in Shanghai (Reuters)
Young people with their cell phones in a cafeteria in Shanghai (Reuters) (ALY SONG /)

For the age range between 8 and 16 years old, one hour of daily use will be allowedwhile adolescents between the ages of 16 and 18 will be able to use their terminals for two hours.

Likewise, the draft prohibits mobile applications from providing services to minors from 10:00 p.m. to 06:00 a.m. the following day.

The restrictions are the latest effort by Beijing to try to limit internet addiction, a problem that he considers widespread among youth. In 2019, the government limited the online gaming time of minors to 90 minutes a day, and in 2021 it tightened those restrictions, lowering them to one hour on Fridays, weekends and holidays.

Under a 2019 regulation, short video apps similar to TikTok were already required to offer a specific mode for minors that limits certain types of content and applies other restrictions to the time of use in the Asian country.

In 2021, the Chinese authorities restricted minors’ access to online video games to three hours a week with the stated goal of “effectively protecting the mental and physical health” and “healthy growth” of young people.

The latest restrictions will have consequences for companies like Tencent, the largest online gaming company in the country, responsible for the popular Douyin short video platform. In China, companies are often the ones in charge of enforcing regulations.

The agency said the draft rules will be open to suggestions until September 2, but did not specify when they will take effect.

(With information from EFE and AP)

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