The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) today announced a "Summer Youth Network Environment Improvement" – a massive cleanse of the Chinese internet to make it safe for kids aged 16 and under.
The announcement of the crackdown means more strife for China's web giants, because the last of seven actions the Administration demands is implementation of a better kids' mode.
The order labels current kids' modes and anti-addiction systems "insufficiently effective" as they have loopholes and aren't conspicuous. Platforms are also criticised for not offering enough age-appropriate content for Chinese kids.
The six other classes of content the CAC wants purged from the net are:
- Live-streamed kids, especially if they're fronting ads or flaunting wealth;
- Online courses that feature smut or bloody violence, especially if they also promote "vulgar" content or have commenting facilities that turn toxic;
- Animated video nasties featuring crime, bloody violence, or other negative stereotypes children may emulate;
- Forums that encourage racy talk, enable sexting, or allow discussions of suicide;
- Over-zealous fan culture, especially if it turns toxic or encourages conspicuous consumption;
- Sites that permit or foster bullying or trolling.
The CAC announcement notes that it recently banned smutty emoticons and hauled in Tencent QQ, Taobao, and Sina Weibo – among others – to review their rectification efforts. Those who fell short were fined.
The latest cleanup will be strictly enforced and backed by increased punishments.
But China has a carrot as well as a stick: the CAC has encouraged local web operators to create a healthy, civilized online space that leaves Chinese youth less likely to experience mental health problems.
The kid-suitable cleansing order is one of many recent crackdowns by the CAC, which recently told Chinese web companies to take more care with data, lashed Bing and LinkedIn over their data harvesting practices, and told racy online video channels to dress their presenters decently – again in the name of ensuring youth can grow into fine young socialists. ®