Bytedance has announced screen time restrictions for its Douyin (TikTok) app for those under the age of 14.
This came after China introduced laws in August that will limit gamers under the age of 18 to an hour of video games on Fridays, weekends, and holidays.
“The measures would apply to all users registered with their real names and as being under 14 years old. The mandatory measures are designed to protect younger users from harmful content,” Douyin said in a statement.
“Up to 40 minutes, a day of Douyin for younger users will henceforth serve up edifying content such as science experiments, museum exhibitions, and history lessons.”
What are the new restrictions?
Douyin’s “youth model” will follow the new limits on younger Chinese users’ access to online video games, restricting under the age of 14 usages of the app between 6am and 10pm.
Douyin had introduced some of the features beginning in 2018 but on an optional basis. Now, Douyin has called on parents to register their children with their real names and ages.
Why is this important?
China revised its Minor Protection Law in June, requiring digital-content providers to implement time-management tools, restrict certain features and limit purchases for users under the age of 18.
It is one of the wider regulations from the Chinese government in recent times. The country’s Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) previously singled out Kuaishou, Tencent’s messaging tool QQ, Alibaba’s Taobao, and Weibo for the lack of privacy and safety of children using the Internet.
Even though the platforms were given a deadline to take down the content, CAC has since fined them for endangering minors’ physical and mental health by not cleaning up seven types of illegal content.
China has also launched a national campaign that will address what it perceives as major issues in the digital industry.
The six-month-long campaign will address the ‘tough problems’ of the internet industry, including disturbing market order, infringing users’ rights, threatening data security, and unauthorized internet connections.