Chinese regulators propose two-hour phone limit per day for under 18s

Chinese regulators have proposed rules that would limit under 18s to a maximum of two hours a day on their smartphones.

The country’s cyberspace regulator said it wanted providers of smart devices to introduce a so-called ‘minor mode’ which would bar users under the age of 18 from accessing the internet on their mobiles from 10pm until 6am.

Under the proposed rules, users aged 16 to 18 would be allowed two hours a day, children aged eight to 16 would get one hour, while children under eight would be allowed just eight minutes.

The proposal comes as authorities have grown increasingly concerned about rates of myopia (short-sightedness) and internet addiction among young people in recent years and highlights Beijing’s desire to exert more control over digital life in China.

If the draft rules by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) are brought into law, they could have implications for companies which run some of China’s biggest mobile apps like TikTok’s owner ByteDance.

Providers would also have to set time limits under the proposed reforms but should also allow parents to opt out of the time limits for their youngsters, the CAC said.