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China’s authorities propose to keep minors out of live streaming

China is getting serious about the way live streaming videos affect tens of millions of youngsters, so much so a top authority has proposed to tighten restrictions on underage use.
According to a report from the China Youth Daily, the Communist Party-controlled All Youth Federation recently submitted a proposal during the once-a-year parliamentary session, urging the country to introduce rules for protecting minors online and considers banning those under the age of 18 from hosting live videos.
The suggestion came months after China’s official media slammed video apps for letting content featuring teen moms to run rampant. Kuaishou and ByteDance’s Huoshan, the two video services ensnarled, subsequently apologized and pulled what the paper called “vulgar” and “harmful” videos promoting teen pregnancies.
But authorities concede verbal warnings aren’t enough, for the stakes have grown high for young users and society. For one, the live video format may allow illegal content to more easily fall through the cracks. Young individuals are also more susceptible to scams and may be duped into rewarding streaming hosts big bucks by stealing from their parents.
Aside from blocking minors from being live hosts, the youth union also called for clearer rules around minors’ use of live streaming apps, which can feature everything from esports competitions and makeup tutorials to seductive dances and violent acts. It added that these platforms should allow parents to monitor children’s activity, and any in-app monetary transactions, such as virtual gifting, must require real-name checks. Apps should also get better at sterilizing content, suggested the youth federation.
Such official manifesto is not to be taken lightly as the government’s stance is key to a company’s commercial success in China. Tencent, for instance, lost a staggering $17.5 billion in market value after an op-ed in the Communist Party’s official paper People’s Daily compared its blockbuster game Honor of Kings to “poison” and “drug”.

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