In recent years, there has been an escalating issue of children dedicating extended periods to smartphones. In response, China’s cyberspace overseer has established a maximum cap of two hours each day for individuals under 18 to use smartphones. This move has subsequently led to a substantial decrease in the stocks of technology firms.
The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has expressed its intent for manufacturers of smart devices to implement a minor-oriented feature that blocks individuals under 18 from utilizing the internet on mobile devices from 10 pm to 6 am. Furthermore, these companies are required to establish specific time limits. In China, those aged 16 to 18 will be permitted two hours of mobile phone usage daily, while individuals aged eight to 16 will have a one-hour limit, and children under eight will be restricted to just eight minutes. Nonetheless, the CAC has indicated that parents should have the option to waive these restrictions for their children. Public input on these regulations will be solicited until September 2.
As a result of the CAC’s decision, Chinese technology firms have experienced substantial declines in their stock values. Tencent Holdings, the operator of the social media platform WeChat, saw a decrease of 2.99 percent in its stock price. Additionally, shares of Bilibili and Kuaishou fell by 6.98 percent and 3.53 percent, respectively. Legal expert Xia Hailong from Shanghai Shenlun law firm remarked that these new regulations would pose challenges for internet companies. He elaborated, “Enforcing the new regulatory demands will incur added expenses and the risk of non-compliance is significant. I anticipate that many internet companies might contemplate restricting minors from using their devices.”
Authorities are concerned about the surge in myopia and internet dependency among Chinese youth in recent years. Approximately two years ago, the Chinese government prohibited individuals under 18 from playing video games, leading to substantial financial losses for major gaming corporations such as Tencent. Over time, video-sharing platforms like Bilibili, Kuaishou, and ByteDance have introduced dedicated modes for children that restrict access to content and usage duration.