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China continues its tirade against youth gaming & streaming

As part of its two-month campaign to clean up the ‘chaos’ around gaming and livestreaming, China is continuing to place restrictions on young people.

It appears the nation with the single largest gaming market, isn’t all that pleased with its accolade.

The growing list of internet restrictions within China could honestly do with its own A-Z at this stage. More than 8,000 websites are blocked throughout the country, including TikTok, Twitter Facebook, and YouTube.

It’s not just social media or e-commerce sites that bear the brunt of these constraints either. Chinese regulators have previously labelled games as ‘spiritual opium’ for young people, and have severely limited their use in lieu of combating gaming addiction.

There are stringent measures in place which prevent any games that aren’t deemed ‘good, clean, and secure’ from being sold, and even then players under the age of 18 are only permitted to play for three hours a week maximum – specifically, an hour a day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The central themes that continue to prevent games from being accepted are violence, same sex relationships, effeminacy (non-masculine behaviour), and money worship.

When it comes to networking services like WeChat, a youth curfew similarly suspends all service at 10pm. Facial recognition technology is widely implemented to ensure that these terms are enforced. Eerie, right?

Now, in its latest move to restrict gaming exposure, video content, and internet usage, which China’s administration claims is causing ‘chaos’ among young people, there are reports that livestreaming and video content is next in the firing line.

Youth restrictions to include livestreaming

Over the next two months, the likes of Douyin (China’s equivalent of TikTok), Kuaishou, Bilibili, Huya, and Douyu are to be hit with a bunch of restrictions based specifically around the usage of teenagers.

Domestic livestreaming services will soon prevent users under the age of 18 from creating their own live content completely, and will require them to get verifiable adult consent before watching others.

These policy changes relate to tipping services too, and will prohibit any live super chats/donations from being sent to streamers via young users. This is to include gift purchases and any online payments.

‘If platforms are found to violate the above requirements, measures including suspension of the tipping feature and shutting down of the live-streaming business could be put in place,’ the regulators wrote in a statement.

They claim that the rules are to improve the ‘physical and mental health’ of China’s youth, but the move almost certainly will not be well received.

Around 70% of China’s internet users tune in to livestreaming services – some 700 million last year – and many of them will be teenagers.

In a day and age where anyone can become a content creator and potentially build a lucrative career from it, it’s a shame that burgeoning creatives in China will not be afforded the same chance to grow as their western counterparts.

We’re led to believe that these sweeping tariffs are for the good of its people, but given China’s recent history in stifling tools of democracy, it’s difficult to accept their intentions at face value.


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