Chinese regulators have proposed rules that would limit the smartphone screen time of people under the age of 18 to a maximum of two hours per day.

The radical draft rules laid out by the increasingly powerful Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) highlight Beijing’s desire to exert control over more parts of the country’s digital life.

If the rules are brought into law, they could have implications for companies such as Tencent and ByteDance, which run some of China’s biggest mobile apps.

The CAC’s draft rules are a broader push by Chinese authorities to curb and prevent addiction among those under 18 to apps and smartphones. In 2021, China introduced regulation that restricted teens under 18 years of age from playing online video games for more than three hours per week.

Some of China’s biggest internet giants have looked to pre-empt regulators’ further tightening measures.

The drafted rules require smartphones to have a “minor mode” for those under 18 years of age that should be easy to access when the device powers on, as either a home screen icon or in the system settings of the device.

The minor mode will allow parents to manage what their kids see and allow internet service providers to show content based on a user’s age. According to CAC, children under the age of three should be shown songs and audio-focused content. Those between 12 and 16 years of age can be exposed to educational and news content.

The CAC warned online firms not to provide services that induce addiction or are detrimental to the physical and mental healthy of kids.

By Admin

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