Following restrictions on gambling by Chinese authorities, ByteDance launches new youth controls for Douyin, its TikTok equivalent app in China, Bloomberg reported. Users under the age of 14 will enter a new “youth mode” limited to 40 minutes of use per day. At the same time, it unveils a new app called Xiao Qu Xing (“Little Fun Star”), a short TikTok-style video app with limited subject matter, a 40-minute time limit, and the ability to like but not upload or do not share videos.
In addition to the time limit, children in China do not have access to Douyin between 22:00 and 06:00. The new controls only apply to users who provided their real names and ages, which is why Douyin asked parents to register the correct information of their children. ByteDance also added more content to Douyin with educational subjects such as science, art history, history and more. The new app, Xiao Qu Xing, seems to offer exclusively educational content.
Game limits set earlier this month are even more restrictive, with under-14s limited to just three hours a week between 8pm and 9pm on Fridays, weekends and public holidays. Previously, children could play 90 minutes a day and three hours on holidays. The rule change was introduced to combat gambling addiction, regulators said.
However, the TikTok restrictions will not affect as many children. According to an article in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), only 0.34 percent of Douyin users are younger than 12, with 4.18 percent of 13-19 year olds. However, the figures are far from certain, as Douyin does not publish demographic data.
It also acknowledged that it would be easy to circumvent the new rules. “As the first short video platform to take minor safeguards, we fully realized that there would be imperfections,” the company said in a statement. To this end, it has launched a bug fixing campaign looking for ‘loopholes’ during the reporting process.
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