Members from China’s All-Youth Federation last week proposed to impose regulations to protect teens from online game obsessiosn and bans on minors from being live stream hosts.
Details of the proposal include penalties, stricter registration rules, as well as more effective reporting mechanisms. They also encouraged relevant companies to open access for parents to supervise their kids when necessary.
Moreover, face recognition technology is mentioned in the proposal to help the company identify the real age of the registered users.
Live streaming, an industry that emerged in China in 2015, made a significant breakthrough in 2016 and has more than 400 million users in China so far, over half of the country’s whole online community.
However, along with this success came the streaming of obscenity, violence, and other inappropriate content.
According to the research conducted by the organization, teens are susceptible to the “harmful content” posted by the so-called “Internet celebrity”.
Messages delivered by some of the on-camera hosts always wrongly understood by teens who don’t have proper discernment. For those immature mindsets, they think they can quickly rise to fame by mimicking the host behaviors.
And due to the lack of self-protected awareness, many youngsters easily give out their personal information like name, address, and phone number, exposing them to potential threats, the research shows.
Parents, on the other hand, have complained about their kids splashing out huge amounts of money on live-streaming platforms, buying virtual gifts like digital roses and luxury cars for the live-streamers to monetize.
What’s worse in such cases is that the money spent on the webcam-idol is often stolen from the parents. And when asking for the refund from live streaming platforms, parents always get caught up in questions about the teenage identity of their kids.
What are people’s responses to this proposal?
The hashtag equivalent of “teens should be banned from being live-streamer” has quickly gone viral on China’s Facebook-like platform called Weibo, triggering hundreds of thousands of discussions.
Most of them are favorable to the proposal, giving thumbs up on ideas like stricter rules and tighter parental regulations.
“Some users point out the content should be the target, not the user’s age,” said the post
“Authorities cannot impose an ‘across-the-board regulation’, which intends to handle all the problems. For the professional e-sports gaming players, many of them are under 18, and this time period is supposed to be their golden age,” said the post.
In the past two years, the authorities have shut down dozens of social live streaming apps due to the illegal content and banned more than 2,000 hosts for behavior that “offended socialist core values and brought negative impacts to the healthy growth of youth and teenagers,” according to a statement from the China’s Cyberspace Administration.