China tightens regulation on gaming, livestreaming services again

Companies in China could face difficulties as their government limits adolescent use.

Image via Daderot

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) announced in November it would be limiting the time people in the country under 18 could spend playing online games. Now, CAC is going even further to specify what content kids can consume online in the country’s latest tech crackdown.

The new draft regulation will work even harder to keep children from accessing internet services for extended periods. Previously, the government restricted video game playing time to three hours each week during Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Besides gaming, the latest draft is aimed at internet activities, including livestreaming, videos, and social media. Additionally, all online service providers in China will also need to set up a child-friendly “youth mode” that limits children to specific content, time limits, and functions.

The Chinese government’s goal is to reduce the amount of time and money young people spend online. There were reports younger users were overspending on gaming services and tips to popular streamers. “A number of delegates” lobbied for the Chinese government to go even further to limit gaming time for kids. 

In response, the CAC imposed these regulations to “strengthen the responsibility” put on gaming and internet companies. Now, gaming companies are losing money in Hong Kong and facing increasing volatility in the market. On Monday, gaming companies lost anywhere from 10 to 19 percent in China’s market. 

While the regulation is not yet law, it could heavily impact the way internet services design their content. These companies will need to provide an understanding approach to the youth’s mental health in China. They will also need to provide options for users who feel they’ve faced abuse from those programs. Hardware companies are also being targeted, as it would be required that developers include minor protection software before it hits the market. 

It will cost a fair amount for these companies to redesign and implement products in accordance with new regulations. Even companies like Tencent and ByteDance that already have youth modes will face new costs due to this law.

Overall, it appears the Chinese government is hoping to lower the addiction that some users face with gaming and social media. By restricting the content users can view, they’ll have a lower chance of becoming addicted, according to the CAC.