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China to introduce ‘youth mode’ time limits for short-video apps


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The challenge of levering children off their favourite app is one being grappled with by parents across the world, whether it’s YouTube, Fortnite, TikTok or Roblox. Now the Chinese government is introducing regulations that will crack down on one particular sector: ‘short-video’ apps including TikTok’s Chinese version Douyin and rival Kuaishou.

“From June, all such apps will have to install a ‘youth mode’ feature for parents that can limit what children watch and for how long,” reported Bloomberg, citing an announcement by the Cyberspace Administration of China. The time limits are thought to be as low as 40 minutes per day.

Douyin has been talking about the planned limits, suggesting that children won’t be able to use its app between 10pm and 6am – nor will they be able to stream live video to their followers or spend money on tips for the creators they watch.

Both Douyin and Kuaishou will turn ‘youth mode’ on automatically for users who they determine to be children. The news follows TikTok’s introduction of its own restrictions on under-13s using its app in the US, relating to a $5.7m settlement with regulators there over child-privacy issues.

Stuart Dredge

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