China is considering imposing stricter limits on children’s smartphone usage. The proposed draft rules, introduced by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), suggest that children under 18 should not use smartphones for more than two hours a day. Additionally, the restrictions vary based on age: 16- and 17-year-olds would be limited to two hours, eight to 15-year-olds to one hour, and those under eight to 40 minutes of smartphone usage per day.
Furthermore, the proposed rules would prohibit smartphone usage between 10 PM and 6 AM. Phones would need to have an easily accessible mode allowing parents to restrict their children’s content exposure, and internet providers would need to ensure age-appropriate content. For very young children (under three years old), only songs and audio content would be allowed, while those aged 12 and above could access educational and news materials. Some exceptions would apply for regulated educational content and emergency services.
The primary aim of these proposed measures is to address concerns regarding addictive behavior in children caused by prolonged mobile device usage, games, and online services. In the past, China has already implemented restrictions on young people, limiting them to three hours of online video game time per week, strictly on weekends and public holidays.
However, the proposal is currently open for public consultation, and there is no guarantee that it will be implemented as it is. There are also questions about the practicality of its implementation. Notably, it is uncertain whether hardware manufacturers or operating system developers would be responsible for implementing the kids’ mode feature. While Apple may need to adjust the parental controls on iPhones in China, involving the OS developer (like Google) could affect other smartphone vendors, such as Oppo or Xiaomi.
If these rules are implemented, they would significantly impact Chinese app developers like ByteDance (responsible for TikTok and Douyin) and Tencent (creator of WeChat and numerous games). These developers may need to redesign their apps and tailor content to comply with the proposed time limits.
Please note that the information provided is based on a draft proposal subject to potential changes and public feedback.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about smartphone usage limits
What are the proposed smartphone usage limits for children in China?
The proposed draft rules by the Cyberspace Administration of China suggest capping smartphone usage for children under 18 at a maximum of two hours per day. The limits are further categorized based on age: 16- and 17-year-olds – two hours, eight to 15-year-olds – one hour, and under eight – 40 minutes per day.
Why is China considering these smartphone usage limits?
China is concerned about addictive behavior and its potential negative impact on children’s development due to prolonged mobile device usage, games, and online services. These limits aim to promote a healthier balance between screen time and other activities.
Are there any exceptions to the proposed smartphone usage limits?
Yes, the draft proposes exceptions for regulated educational content and emergency services. Additionally, children under three years old would be allowed to access songs and audio content, while those aged 12 and above can access educational and news materials.
What other restrictions has China imposed on young people’s screen time?
Prior to this proposal, China already limited young people to three hours of online video game time per week, which was only permitted on weekends and public holidays.
Will these rules definitely be implemented?
The draft is still open for public consultation, and there is no guarantee that it will be implemented as it is. Further revisions and considerations may be made based on public feedback and practicality.
How will app developers be affected by these limits?
If implemented, Chinese app developers like ByteDance (TikTok and Douyin) and Tencent (WeChat and games) may need to redesign their apps and tailor content to comply with the proposed time limits for children’s usage.