On Saturday, the Chinese government announced a series of changes in the way children can access and communicate with content online, and the National Broadcasting Authority said “platforms need to tighten controls to prevent underage users from tipping live broadcasters or to themselves become live broadcasters without guardian consent “.
As Reuters reportthis comes in the form of two policy changes:
1) Viewers under the age of 18 will no longer be able to tip, a practice in which those watching the broadcast can send small amounts of money, usually in exchange for verbal or textual confirmation of their contribution.
2) Anyone who watches livestreaming content through a child account will have all streams locked after 10pm, and those responsible for creating content “will need to step up peak time management for such shows”.
Keep in mind that none of this happens on Twitch or YouTube; instead, the largest Chinese platforms are all local services such as Bilibili, Tencentov Huya & Douyu and Douyin, which is basically the Chinese equivalent of TikToku.
These new laws come as part of the Chinese authorities’ efforts to target what they see as “chaos” on social media and the livestreaming space, led by both carrots (promotion of “appropriate and legal content”) and stick (restrictions like these).
They are also part of the Chinese government’s broader effort to tighten its control over the entire video game industry; we reported last month that for most of 2021, the freeze on approvals for new domestic video games was “devastating” for the industry, with an estimated 14,000 studios / programmers closing before the process could be restarted. And in 2021, authorities reduced the amount of time children could spend playing gamessaying “Many parents have said that the problem of gambling addiction among teenagers and children has seriously affected their ability to learn and learn, as well as their physical and mental health, even causing a number of social problems.”