90% of Chinese language minors are on-line, official survey finds
What happened: Internet penetration rate among minors ages six to 18 in China is 93.7%, according to a survey conducted by China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), totaling around 169 million youth. In comparison, the internet penetration rate of China’s population as a whole is only 57.7%. Internet access between minors in rural versus urban areas were largely in line at 89.7% and 95.1%, respectively.
Excluding elementary school-age children, the internet penetration rate for all other age groups exceeded 96%. Nearly 88% of those surveyed said they used the internet for educational purposes; a majority also reported going online to listen to music, as well as to play games. Some 16% of minors said they had experienced online bullying or harassment, and 30% were reportedly exposed to “harmful” online content including violence, pornography, drugs, and gambling.
Why it’s important: High rates of internet use among minors has led to public concern over their safety and well-being. One major target for government crackdown has been gaming, where regulations on the release of new licenses have caused industry-wide fallout.
Tech giants like Tencent have implemented controls for minors on some of their most popular offerings in response to worries over addiction and adverse health effects. The effects have also bled into the popular arena of short videos, with industry leaders Douyin and Kuaishou creating “youth mode” options this month that restrict spending and filter content.
Even educational offerings haven’t been immune: In January, China’s Education Ministry ordered school staff to identify and ban “harmful” apps and WeChat official accounts of all kinds.