back to article Tick, tick, tick … TikTok China just limited kids to 40 minutes' use each day

Douyin, the Chinese app known as TikTok outside the Middle Kingdom, has imposed limits on usage time for kids. In a weekend post to Tencent-operated portal qq.com, Douyin's owner ByteDance revealed that it has moved all users who have authenticated with their real names, and are under 14 years of age, into "youth mode". Such …

  1. HildyJ Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Ends versus means

    I can understand the end goal of limiting children's social media usage (and I wouldn't mind putting some restrictions on adults as well). And many other new Chinese policies seem to have some merit.

    BUT the methods used to enforce them seem to be becoming increasingly draconian. It brings back memories of Chairman Mao's Little Red Book.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Ends versus means

      a company (or a gummint for that matter) shoulrd NOT strongarm ANY form of "parenting" upon THE CUSTOMERS.

      And if I had a teenage kid it would be simple: if you want to use something _LIKE_ TikTok, BUY YOUR OWN PHONE AND INTERNET with MONEY YOU EARN. (they don't need the brain poison and indoctrination, from the viewpoint of a parent who would ONLY care about such things for his OWN kids - other parents can make their own decisions about their own kids, and GUMMINT STAY OUT OF IT)

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: An infinite game of whack a mole.

      Oh? Ever thought they're also required to verify all those names and addresses before they're considered registered? And there are ways to do it especially when you're a country like China with all sorts of "public records" to be able to check, not to mention the old technique of actually contacting the locations put on record...

    2. pavel.petrman

      Re: An infinite game of whack a mole.

      This illustrates nicely the naivety with which totalitarian regimes are regarded by people who have no first hand experience with said regimes. A "My dear, why don't you just vote off those communists?" type of understanding.

    3. imanidiot Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: An infinite game of whack a mole.

      gmail? Not available. MSN? Not available. Hotmail? Not available.

      They have a database of streetnames and adresses. If it's not on the list, you very likely can't register with that address.

      And uploading blasphemous pictures of the Chairman? You'll end up in a re-education camp for that. They WILL find you from the phone data that the registration process likely sends with your account registration submission.

      You can't have fun with this. If you live in China you WILL submit or you WILL get stomped by the boot grinding your face into the mud until you do.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: An infinite game of whack a mole.

        If you live in China you WILL submit

        Sadly, may not be just China any more...

  3. Blazde Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Douyin Bug Report #6489: Unforeseen consequences

    Affected Platform/Environment: All, Youth Mode & Non-party member Mode (TBA)

    Steps to reproduce: Continue on path of tightening app restrictions for several years

    Expected results: Freed from the grip of Digital Spiritual Opium Badthing children grow into perfectly functioning obedient valued hard-working subjects of the great People's Republic and it's wondrous leader

    Actual results: A generation grow up resentful of freedom-hating government and all buy umbrellas because there's nothing else to do

    Mitigation: Let the kids have fun while they can, jeez

    1. elwe

      Re: Douyin Bug Report #6489: Unforeseen consequences

      These new restrictions on the young are very likely to be the downfall of communist party rule in China, but will also probably do wonders for the Chinese tech industry.

      When the restrictions are too excessive, people will go looking for ways around them. This will create a generation who aren't afraid to defy the party and at least to some extent resent it. In ten or twenty years time there will be a huge number of people used to defying the communist party, no longer accepting they know best and wanting change. In such circumstances that change will be a question of when, not if.

      The young will learn much from hacking around the restrictions and China will end up equipped with a generation who don't blindly follow the rules and are much better at innovating, rather than copying. This will give the Chinese tech industry a big leap forward.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Douyin Bug Report #6489: Unforeseen consequences

        "These new restrictions on the young are very likely to be the downfall of communist party rule in China, but will also probably do wonders for the Chinese tech industry."

        You are very much underestimating the power of the CCP.

        Unlike USSR of old who got distracted by 'other things' and missed the foundations collapsing beneath them until it was too late, the CCP are a bit more savvy and are trying to control the foreign influences of the internet.

        They can in the short term do this BUT how long they can be 'successful' is the real question.

        In spite of the unknown answer to the 'real question', I would not hold my breath waiting for the CCP to collapse ..... just yet !!! :)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Douyin Bug Report #6489: Unforeseen consequences

        They could always just murder those children who disagree (and their parents).

        After all, Hitler was very successful in this approach (as was Stalin), and neither of those had anywhere near the selective-genocide technology that is available to the CCP.

        Anon, but the icon would be "your foster parents are dead".

      3. Blazde Silver badge

        Re: Douyin Bug Report #6489: Unforeseen consequences

        "a generation who don't blindly follow the rules and are much better at innovating, rather than copying"

        Some of them yes, but it'll be a small minority of proper punk rule-breakers because it always is in any society. The rest who do follow the rules regardless how stupid they get may end up with (by modern standards) a stunted intellectual development due to the lack of games and online social tools (and uh dance-video apps) to feed their creativity, and social, logic, strategy skills and generally help inform them about the world. I suppose the big question is what they do instead. If it's yet more homework questions, or sitting in front of the TV being preached to by party-controlled media endlessly, then it's probably going to be detrimental to the innovating. It's an interesting, if ill-advised and cruel, experiment.

        There'll also probably be more young nationalistic nutjobs who take the party line too seriously, come to view games and social media as truly the work of evil spirits or Western conspiracy and continue to inflict that view forcefully on the rest of society for decades to come.

    2. Robert Helpmann??
      Childcatcher

      Re: Douyin Bug Report #6489: Unforeseen consequences

      Steps to reproduce: Continue on path of tightening app restrictions for several years

      I would say redirecting all apps to dating sites would have more impact on reproduction, but whatever gets the job done for you.

  4. the Jim bloke Silver badge
    FAIL

    If they are restricting kids - or any of their userbase - to "wholesome, curated, content..", they're going to need to block out more than just a third of the day, or run out of content.

    Either that or go with facebook levels of "wholesome" and "curated".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You left out an "R".

      Facebook content is "Cur Rated"

  5. Garry Perez

    The Revolution

    Will be started by the nerds

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Revolution

      Not sure they'll have the time and energy as they endlessly patch Microsoft products and reboot Michelle from HR's computer.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why would they drink their own poison?

    Is this related to the reasons that M. Zuckerburg won't let his own children use Facebook?

    “Congresswoman, My daughters are five and three and they do not use our products. Actually that is not exactly true my eldest daughter, Max, I let use Messenger Kids sometimes to message her cousins,” said Mr Zuckerberg.

    1. luminous

      Re: Why would they drink their own poison?

      The best drug dealers NEVER use their own stuff.

  7. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Classic

    De-facto allow a highly addictive product on the market.

    Impose hard limits on its use.

    Does that ring a bell?

    I guess Chinese police needs a low hanging fruit to get themselves busy with, or the party wants to keep them busy.

  8. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Youth mode users are also fed wholesome, curated content.

    Brainwashing, in other words...

  9. Winkypop Silver badge
    Devil

    I’ve always limited my social media time

    I find that zero interactions a day is about right for me.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: I’ve always limited my social media time

      And yet, here you are, interacting socially in a distinctly non-zero manner.

      I kid. Like many here, I suspect you draw a line between the sweet serenity of El Reg forums, and the bitter crack addiction that is Facebook, Twitter etc.

      1. martyn.hare
        Facepalm

        Why do people pretend everything is social media?

        Where’s the timeline? Where’s the ability to add friends? Heck, where’s the individual status updates?El Reg meets none of the basic requirements to be considered social media.

        User-submitted content does not social media make!

      2. Winkypop Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: I’ve always limited my social media time

        El-reg is as close to social media as I get.

        - no real name

        - no PI

        - unobtrusive tracking, if any

        - no friends!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Knowing the Party

    Knowing the Party's penchant for surveilance, this has got to be a pretext for testing more highly granular tracking and control before applying it to everyone.

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