The Chinese version of TikTok is limiting kids to 40 minutes a day
The Chinese version of TikTok is introducing a “teenage mode” that will limit the amount of time children under the age of 14 spend on the short-form video app to 40 minutes a day.
The measure will apply to all Douyin users under the age of 14 who have registered for the app using their real names, Beijing-based ByteDance announced in a statement on Saturday.
Douyin will also be unavailable to those users between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., the owner of TikTok and Douyin added.
The company also urged parents to help their children register with real names, or otherwise manually enable “teenage mode.” ByteDance did not immediately respond to a question from CNN Business about how it might enforce the policy for those who don’t use their real names.
The app also said it would introduce new content — ranging from science experiments and museums to art gallery exhibition and natural scenery — to “inspire” younger teens.
Limiting usage of Douyin is a “proactive measure” by ByteDance to get ahead of potential regulation, analysts at Citigroup Global Markets wrote in a Monday research note. They suggested that the decision could push other internet platforms with short video content to look at implementing similar restrictions.
“Self-assessment and voluntary implementation of minor-protection measures by more platforms could help suggest platforms are being more socially responsible and potentially reassure parents and regulators,” they added.
Douyin had at least 490 million users in November 2020, according to media research firm iiMedia Research.
Chinese regulators have already started pressuring tech companies to curb the amount of time minors spend on their services.
In June, China revised its “Minor Protection Law,” which requires internet service providers — including social media apps — to “set up corresponding functions such as time management, content restriction and consumption limits for minors.”
Douyin rival Kuaishou — which is backed by Tencent — introduced a similar setting for minors in 2019.
China’s pressure on tech companies is part of sweeping new regulations on businesses focused on the next generation, from a heavy crackdown on private tutoring to rules for online gaming.
Last month, the country barred online gamers under the age of 18 from playing on weekdays and limited their play to just three hours most weekends.