Douyin, China's version of TikTok, is capping time on platform for users under 14 to 40 mins a day
- Douyin, China's version of TikTok, is limiting users aged 14 and below to 40 minutes on its platform every day.
- Douyin's "youth mode" also locks users under 14 out of the app from 22:00 to 06:00 daily.
- This is the latest in a series of measures by Chinese gaming and tech firms to regulate the country's cyberspace.
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Chinese TikTok users under 14 are having their time on the platform limited to just 40 minutes a day, in China's latest move to curb online addiction for younger Chinese users.
The restriction is being rolled out in the form of a "youth mode," which automatically sorts all registered users under 14 into a different user category, per The Wall Street Journal. This category of users will not only have their time on the app limited but will also be locked out of the app from 22:00 to 06:00 daily.
"If you are a user aged under 14, you'll discover that you're already in 'youth mode' when you open the app," said the company in a statement announcing the move on September 18.
Douyin added in its statement that it will push "enriching" content to do with general knowledge and educational material to users in "youth mode."
Douyin averaged around 600 million daily active users in the first quarter of this year and has been progressively rolling out restrictions for younger users. In June, a softer version of the youth mode put in place protections for users aged 14 and 18 by limiting the content they can view through the search function, per state-linked media organisation Global Times.
The scaling-up of Douyin's youth mode follows a series of intense measures imposed by the Chinese government to limit how much time kids spend online. In August, Chinese gamers under 18 had their in-game time slashed to three hours a week and were limited to one hour a day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 20:00 to 21:00. This was imposed by gaming giants like Tencent after a Chinese-affiliated state publication labeled gaming "spiritual opium."
China is simultaneously cracking down on what it calls unhealthy celebrity culture. This month, fourteen Chinese content platforms - including Douyin and the country's Twitter-like Weibo - signed a "Self Discipline Convention." Under this agreement, the platforms will strictly regulate fans' behavior and clamp down on malicious celebrity gossip, to enforce "self-discipline" in China's cyberspace.
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