Friday, Oct 23, 2020

China’s revamped law bans online services that ‘induce addiction’ in kids

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Long Wei/VCG via Getty Images

China is implementing stricture measures in its bid to keep kids away from addictive digital content. The state-backed news agency Xinhua reported (via Reuters) that China has voted for revamped law that will ban internet products and services which “induce addiction” in kids. Game creators, livestream services and social networks also have to set up time and consumption limits.

The revised measures also give kids and their parents the right to ask internet providers to take “necessary measures” to thwart cyberbullying, including blocking and deleting content.

The updated law will take effect on June 1st, 2021.

To some extent, this is formalizing what China has done before. It was already exploring the ethics of game addiction, and developers like Tencent have already put checks in place. However, an explicit ban on addictive content could force sites and game creators to put checks in place to be safe, even if they’re not convinced kids will be hooked. While that will mostly affect China-focused digital goods, it could have an effect on the Chinese-made games and services you see elsewhere.

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