Published: September 23, 2021
TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, announced that its Chinese video app Douyin would limit users younger than 14 years old to 40 minutes of usage per day.
The Chinese government has been working hard to cut down on the amount of time Chinese teens spend online, which it considers dangerous. Last month, new rules restricted the Chinese under 18 to playing online games between 8 PM and 9 PM on holidays, Fridays, and weekends.
Authorities have demanded that game enterprises and platforms like Douyin employ real-name identification for all its customers. In other words, users have to provide a phone number and other forms of identification to play online games.
As for the app in question, teenagers under 14 will be able to access Douyin for 40 minutes only between 6 AM and 10 PM. The guidelines will apply to authenticated users with real names under 14. The company also urged parents to help their kids with real-name verification or set youth mode when prompted by the app.
What’s more, the company revealed a new app Xiao Qu Xing, a TikTok-style short video application with a 40-minute time limit and limited subject materials. Its users have an option to like but cannot share someone else’s or upload their own videos.
Youth mode users will now access educational content like popular science experiments, gorgeous scenery from all over the country, explanations of historical knowledge, museum and gallery exhibitions, according to ByteDance.
That being said, it seems that the changes won’t impact that many users. According to the South China Morning Post, 4.18% of Douyin users are between the ages of 13 and 19, and only 0.34% are under 12. However, since Douyin does not publish demographic data, these numbers aren’t definite.