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China Proposes Smartphone Screen Time Limits for Kids

Published: August 7, 2023

Photo by Rami Al-zayat on Unsplash

China Proposes Smartphone Screen Time Limits for Kids

By Movieguide® Contributor

The Chinese government is proposing legal limits on children’s screen time. 

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) plans on implementing a range of proposed screen times based on age. 

According to 9to5Mac, children under 8 would be allowed up to 40 minutes of smartphone screen time per day. Children ages 8 to 15 would have 1 hour, while 16 and 17-year-olds could use their phones for 2 hours maximum. 

CAC also plans to set a curfew time; phones belonging to minors “should not be usable between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.”

Fox Business reported that there would also be an “anti-bypass function” which would require verification and confirmation from parents, keeping kids from overriding the screen time limits. 

“To effectively strengthen the online protection of minors, the CAC has in recent years pushed for the establishment of a youth mode on internet platforms, expanding its coverage, optimizing its functions and enriching it with age-appropriate content,” the CAC said. “Since the mode was launched, there has been a positive impact in reducing youth internet addiction and the impact of undesirable information.”

This is the latest plan that Chinese government officials have floated in an effort to curb young people’s screen time. 

In 2021, CNBC reported that China would regulate how long kids could play online video games, writing that those under 18 would “only be allowed up to three hours per week to play online video games.”

Movieguide® previously reported on the dangers of high screen time for children:

A new study from Canadian researchers found that extended screen time among school-aged children places them at a higher risk for developing anxiety and depression. 

The study was conducted over 2021 and 2020 as screen times jumped drastically across the world. In Canada, the average screen usage among children rose from 2.6 hours pre-COVID to 5.9 hours during the initial weeks of the lockdown. The United States saw a similar trend. By the time the study was conducted, the average screen time of children hovered around 4 hours across the year-long research period; roughly double the 2-hour max recommended by most healthcare professionals. 

Previous studies had found that high levels of screen time were correlated with impaired social skills, behavioral issues, and fatigue among children. This study continued the research into the effect that high exposure to screens has on children. It was especially interested in the correlation between screen time and depression and anxiety as these have skyrocketed in school-aged children since the pandemic, with an estimated 20-25% of children affected. 

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