To combat internet addiction among young people, China has introduced new regulations that impose restrictions on internet usage for individuals under 18.
Starting September 2, young users will be prohibited from accessing the internet on their smartphones between 10 pm and 6 am, reported by The News International.
The new rules also include a tiered system to manage mobile usage time based on age. Children aged eight years and under will be allowed a maximum of 40 minutes per day of internet access, while 16- and 17-year-olds will have a daily limit of up to two hours.
Proposed by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), these regulations are some of the most stringent in the world. They aim to control and regulate young people’s exposure to smartphones and the internet during specific hours. However, parents can bypass these restrictions to grant their children more internet access.
The CAC stated that these measures are designed to “improve the positive role of the internet, create a favourable network environment, prevent and intervene in minors’ internet addiction problems, and guide minors to form good internet use habits.”
The regulations will complement existing efforts to protect minors online, including providing age-appropriate content and reducing the influence of harmful information.
Chinese authorities have been actively regulating the domestic tech sector, particularly its impact on young users.
In 2021, China implemented caps on gaming time for children to address addiction issues, leading to a freeze on approvals of new games for nine months and affecting companies like Tencent. This recent move further underscores Beijing’s continued focus on regulating the activities of domestic tech giants.
Following the CAC’s announcement of the new rules, the stock prices of several leading Chinese internet companies experienced declines. Tencent’s Hong Kong-listed shares fell by 3.0%, while Baidu, a web search, AI, and online services giant, saw its shares drop by 3.75% during Hong Kong trading. The market’s response highlights the potential impact these regulations may have on the tech industry in China.