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TikTok Parent Company Limits Screen Time For Chinese Kids To 40 Minutes Per Day

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Ailan Evans Tech Reporter
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TikTok maker ByteDance announced Saturday it was limiting screen time for Chinese users under 14 years old.

The Chinese version of video sharing platform TikTok, called “Douyin,” unveiled a new “youth mode” feature that limits the use of its app for children under 14 to 40 minutes a day, its parent company ByteDance announced Saturday. The app will also be unavailable for children between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., ByteDance said, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The screen time cap applies to all child users registered under their real name, and is designed to protect children from potentially harmful content, the company said, according to the WSJ. The company asked parents to register their child’s Douyin account with their real name to help enforce the limit, according to the WSJ. (RELATED: TikTok Promotes Sexual Content, Drugs And Alcohol To Children, Investigation Finds)

Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) delivers a speech during a ceremony to honour people who fought against the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on September 8, 2020. (Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP) (Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images)

Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) delivers a speech during a ceremony to honour people who fought against the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on September 8, 2020. (Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images)

The Chinese government announced a similar policy in August restricting children from playing more than three hours of video games per week. President Xi Jinping has repeatedly raised concerns over the negative effects video games and social media may have on the mental health of teenagers, calling online games “dirty and messy things.”

The country cracked down on its entertainment and social media industries over the past few months, imposing restrictive new privacy laws designed to limit social media platforms’ gathering of personal data and targeted advertising practices. China banned effeminate men from appearing in television broadcasts earlier this month in an effort to promote traditional culture.

ByteDance has also drawn criticism from U.S. lawmakers for its willingness to cooperate with the Chinese government, with Sen. Marco Rubio demanding the app be banned from U.S. app stores and Rep. Ken Buck submitting amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act ordering the banning of the app from devices related to federal agencies.

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