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Chinese Tech Shares Decline Amidst Proposed Child Smartphone Usage Limits
Chinese technology shares experienced a notable decline following recommendations from the country’s cyberspace regulator to impose restrictions on smartphone usage among children under 18. Shares of prominent firms like Alibaba and the video-sharing platform Bilibili witnessed drops on Wednesday, with further losses recorded early on Thursday.
Proposed Law Sets Limits on Child Smartphone Usage
The suggested law aims to restrict the amount of time children can spend on smartphones, allowing them a maximum of two hours of usage per day. This initiative comes four years after China implemented gaming restrictions for children, reflecting the government’s continued efforts to regulate digital consumption among young people.
Details of the Proposed Regulations
The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) is behind the proposed rules, which not only suggest a time cap but also include a ban on children accessing the internet on mobile devices between 22:00 and 06:00 local time. To facilitate these limits, the CAC requires industry players, including mobile device manufacturers, apps, and app stores, to develop a “minor mode” feature. This feature would enable parents to set usage limits based on the child’s age.
Gradated Usage Limits Based on Age
Under the proposed plan, children aged 16 to 18 would be allowed a daily screen time of two hours. However, the allotment decreases significantly for younger age groups. Children under the age of eight would have only eight minutes of daily screen time. These proposed limits are currently open to public feedback and may be subject to adjustments based on input.
Tech Giants’ Role in Enforcing Regulations
Much like the gaming restrictions implemented previously, technology giants are likely to shoulder the responsibility of enforcing these new rules. Industry experts believe that while there might be ways for children to bypass the limits, such as obtaining their parents’ device passwords, the overall implementation is expected to be effective. The past success of gaming restrictions serves as an example of how technology companies can collaborate with regulatory efforts.
Impact on Tech Shares and Gaming Industry
The news of these potential regulations had an immediate effect on the stock market. Shares of Alibaba closed more than 3% lower, and Bilibili experienced a nearly 7% drop in Hong Kong. However, Tencent, another major player in the tech industry, defied the trend with only a slight decline. These proposed regulations follow a series of measures by China to address video game addiction among minors. These initiatives have impacted Chinese technology companies, contributing to the shift in the global gaming market’s revenue from China to the United States.