The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) is soliciting opinions on a draft regulation for cyber protection for minors, as reported by Reuters on March 14. The rules mandate internet product and service providers to set up a system to combat video game addiction among minors. The regulator also asks game and audio platforms to take measures to limit in-app consumption by minors. Furthermore, the authority amended rules to illegalize sending explicit information to children in the form of text, photos, audio, or video.
China implemented restrictions in August 2021 to prevent minors from being hooked to online gaming, mandating gaming platforms to limit services to only one hour per Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and on public holidays. Following the regulations, game companies have implemented a series of protective measures. Tencent [0700:HK] has banned users under the age of 12 from paying top-ups, implemented a real-name account registration system, and launched a facial recognition system to verify users. Game time by users under the age of 18 accounted for 6% of Tencent’s total game time in China in 3Q20, while that from users under the age of 16 accounted for 3.2%. By 3Q21, game time from users under 18 decreased to 1.1%. On the other hand, NetEase [NTES:US] developed a channel for reporting suspicious activities by minors, as well as a parent-care platform that allows parents to monitor their children’s game time and in-app purchases.