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ByteDance Adds Time Limit for Kids Under 14 on Video App

The Chinese version of the popular short video app TikTok, known as Douyin, will limit users in China who are under 14 years old to 40 minutes a day, parent company ByteDance said in a blog post Saturday. The app’s youth mode keeps it in line with the Chinese government’s new restrictions on access to video games for younger children.

The company said, teens under 14 will be able to access Douyin between 6AM and 10PM, but won’t be able to use the app outside of that window. The rules will apply to “real-name authenticated users” under 14, and the company encouraged parents to help their children complete the real-name authentication process, or activate youth mode when prompted by the app.

The Chinese government has been focused on reducing the amount of time Chinese teenagers spend online, which it views as harmful. Last month, it’s National Press and Publication Administration unveiled new rules, which restrict Chinese citizens under 18 to playing online games only on Fridays, weekends, and holidays, between 8PM and 9PM.

Authorities have directed game companies and platforms like Douyin to use real-name identification for all its users; the process requires users to provide a phone number and other identification to access online games. Douyin had introduced some of the features beginning in 2018 but on an optional basis. Now, Douyin has also called on parents to register their children with their real names and ages.

ByteDance said the content available to users in youth mode will now include educational material like “interesting popular science experiments, exhibitions in museums and galleries, beautiful scenery across the country, explanations of historical knowledge, and so on.”

The move comes after 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.

Even though the platforms were given a deadline to take down the content, Cyberspace Administration of China (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.

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.

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