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Image credit: Long Wei/VCG via Getty Images

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

Games and streams have to set limits to stay legal.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
October 18, 2020
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SHANGHAI, CHINA - JULY 31: Visitors play a video game during the 2020 China Digital Entertainment Expo & Conference (ChinaJoy) at Shanghai New International Expo Center on July 31, 2020 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Long Wei/VCG via Getty Images)
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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