China bans the Internet for under-18s: they will no longer be able to surf at night

Elizabeth Smith

The Chinese government has announced the introduction of strict new regulations to limit minors’ access to the internet.

The measures, which will come into force on 2 September after a public consultation, aim to protect young people from the dangers of internet addiction.

New strict rules in China for internet access

According to the new provisions, minors under the age of 18 will no longer be able to access the internet via their smartphones between 10pm and 6am.

A system will also be introduced to limit the daily internet connection time, graduated according to age:

  • 40 minutes per day for 8-year-olds;
  • 1 hour for 8-12 year olds;
  • 90 minutes for 12-15 year olds;
  • 2 hours for 16-17 year olds.

These are very strict measures aimed at effectively depriving young people of night-time internet access and limiting the time spent online during the day.

According to the Chinese authorities, they will serve to ‘create a healthy and safe internet environment for minors’. Thus continuing on the path of other initiatives taken in recent years to combat youth internet addiction.

The other measures to restrict internet use

Back in 2021, China had already imposed caps on the amount of time children could spend playing online on a daily basis.

It also froze the approval of new video games for nine months. A measure that shook the Chinese video game industry and giants such as Tencent.

The new anti-internet addiction regulations are part of a broader crackdown by the Chinese government on several areas, from technology to private education.

The aim is to take greater control over what young people can see and do online, in the name of protecting their physical and mental health.

Critics of the government, however, object that this is in fact a further authoritarian clampdown to strengthen surveillance and ideological conditioning of the younger generation, drastically limiting free access to information and content on the internet.

Read also: China puts English in the drawer: language teaching in public schools faces a setback

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