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New Guidelines Proposed by China to Limit Minors’ Internet Use




The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has drafted new guidelines to restrict minors’ access to the internet and promote healthy internet habits. These guidelines have been posted on the CAC website for public consultation, which is open until September 2.

Proposed Restrictions and Guidelines

Limiting Internet Use

The proposed regulations are targeted at various age groups to control the time spent on the Internet:

  • Kids under 8 years: 40 minutes per day
  • Children between 8 and 15: One hour per day
  • Children between 16 and 18: Two hours per day

Furthermore, most minors will not be allowed to access internet services on mobile devices from 10 p.m. through 6 a.m. in “minor mode.”

Content Restrictions

The guidelines also cater to content appropriate for different age groups:

  • Children under 3: Nursery rhymes, songs, and content to be watched with parents
  • Those between 8 and 12: Videos about life skills, general knowledge, age-appropriate news, and positive entertainment content
  • Those between 12 and 16: Access to news and educational content

Technology Provisions

The CAC has highlighted the following provisions:

  • A “rest reminder” after 30 minutes of mobile smart terminal usage
  • Implementing anti-bypass functions and requiring parental verification for developer mode
  • Applying regulations to smartwatches and virtual or augmented reality devices
  • Certain services suitable for minors’ physical and mental development, including emergency products and services, would be exempted.

Background and Previous Measures

China has been actively working on regulations to reduce internet addiction among youth: In 2019, China limited daily online game time for children to 90 minutes In 2021, further restrictions were imposed, allowing only one hour a day of online gameplay on specific days Online platforms like Douyin, Bilibili, and Kuaishou have initiated youth modes that restrict content and time In 2021, teenagers were banned from playing mobile games on weekdays

Impact on Tech Companies

The latest restrictions will affect major Chinese companies like Tencent and ByteDance, which are responsible for enforcing such regulations in China.

Public Reaction

While many parents have expressed support for the new guidelines, some concerns have arisen. Some, like Alina Wang, worry about enforceability since many children use their parents’ phones and accounts. While others, like Dorothy Shi, believe that the proposed time limits are too short. And Cao Fan, an associate professor at the University of Hong Kong, emphasized the importance of parental guidance in managing children’s screen time

Global Perspective

Experts like Sun Sun Lim, a professor at Singapore Management University, shed light on China’s perspective in considering the state as the primary authority in managing children’s social media consumption.


The newly proposed regulations signify China’s continuous efforts to regulate and promote healthy internet use among minors. These guidelines reflect a balanced approach between screen time limitations and age-appropriate content provision. However, the effectiveness and execution of these guidelines remain to be seen, as they pose challenges in enforcement and the balancing act between regulation and parental responsibility. The public consultation period will offer valuable insights and possibly lead to adjustments before becoming law.