Curbing the influence of live-streamers . . .
Earlier this week, Shanghai revealed a pilot version of “teenager mode” settings for tech companies operating in the city. The announcement follows last month’s nation-wide law drastically restricting Chinese minors’ ability to play video games. Under the law, gamers under the age of 18 are prohibited from gaming on weekdays and are limited to one hour of game play on weekends. Now, as part of its new 20-point guidelines for Shanghai-based tech companies such as streaming platform Bilibili, social media/e-commerce platform Xiaohongshu, and publishing company China Literature, Shanghai is asking companies to prioritize “social interest” content, verify youth users, and limit the length of time youth users can spend online. Under “teenager mode,” young users are also banned from buying virtual gifts for live-streamers and those under 16 are not allowed to live-stream.
Broader set of gov’t policies on perceived social ills . . .
These new restrictions at both the national and local levels are part of a wider crackdown in China that the Chinese Communist Party has been ramping up since late last year. Yesterday, China’s largest gaming companies, Tencent Holdings and NetEase, were summoned by Chinese authorities to discuss how they plan to implement Beijing’s new restrictions on youth video game usage. The new limits are part of a broader set of government policies to eliminate content harmful to the morality and health of China’s youth. Other policies that are part of this effort include eliminating “effeminate” images of males in pop culture and censoring entertainers with “incorrect political positions.”
Nothing short of restructuring the digital economy . . .
This drive to preserve the virtue of China’s youth by limiting their access to digital content is set to continue. In mid-August, the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee and State Council released a policy document laying out the guiding philosophies, principles, and overarching goals of their regulatory overhaul of the digital economy through 2025. If the actions to date are anything to go by, these overhauls will be dramatic and have a high impact on the digital lives of those in China and those around the world who interact with China’ digital products.