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Douyin, Chinese Version of TikTok, Limits Kids to 40 Minutes a Day

Leo Timm
Leo Timm covers China-related news, culture, and history. Follow him on Twitter at @kunlunpeaks
Published: September 20, 2021
Chinese tech firms like TikTok, Huawei, and Tencent have increased their lobbying budgets.
Chinese tech firms like TikTok, Huawei, and Tencent have increased their lobbying budgets. (Image: nikuga via Pixabay)

Minors in China are now only allowed to use Douyin — the original, mainland Chinese version of video site TikTok — between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. for 40 minutes a day, according to new regulations introduced by Douyin’s owning company ByteDance on Saturday, Sept. 18.

The rules are enforced via a “youth mode” that underage users must use upon authenticating their identities with the app, which has 600 million users in the People’s Republic.

As with its overseas version, Douyin, which literally translates to “shaking sound,” has seen extreme popularity among young users. Apart from their common Beijing-based parent company ByteDance, Douyin and TikTok are completely separate platforms. Beijing bans all major Western social media sites, though tech-savvy Chinese use VPNs to access them.

Douyin’s regulations come on the heels of a recent rule by the Chinese government that limits minors to just 3 hours of online gaming per week — one hour each per Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

“In another similarity to video game restrictions, though, keeping children off Douyin could prove difficult to enforce. Users could find ways of circumventing the restrictions, possibly just by using a parent’s identity or account,” the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported on Sept. 20.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has made moves against the Chinese tech and entertainment sectors in recent months, with some observers speculating that the shift reflects political struggle between CCP general secretary Xi Jinping and opposing factions with sway in the business environment.

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