China revamps a law that now bans 'addictive' content online to protect kids

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To ensure that minors have a safe and controlled experience on the internet, China's top legislature has voted to amend a law recently. The law says that no internet product or service provider will be able to offer children anything that may lead to addiction. According to a report by state-owned news agency Xinhua, online services, which include gaming, live streaming, audio and video uploading, and social media usage, should now come with regulatory features such as a time limit and consumption limit for minors. The service providers need to make sure that these updates are in place.

Hence, no online service or product provider will be allowed to market their product if they flout any of the provisions mentioned in the amendment. This can also affect how China-made games and social media products are packaged for the rest of the world.

The revision also aims to safeguard minors from cyberbullying as it gives parents and guardians the right to inform the internet service providers (ISPs) about such incidents so that they can take steps such as deleting, blocking or disconnecting links. The service providers are bound to take necessary measures once they get the notice.

The revision to the Law on the Protection of Minors includes provisions on sexual assault and harassment that minors might face. Schools and kindergartens have been instructed in the law to inform the public security and education authorities about such illegal and criminal acts taking place.

While recruiting staff, organizations that deal with minors in any form, must carry out proper checks on the applicants to make sure that they do not have any criminal records of sexual assault, abuse, trafficking or violence. No person with any such record is to be employed.

Teachers and other staff, along with the students, in schools will be given proper training to prevent and help students who face bullying on the grounds. A prevention and control system will also be set up. The schools must immediately stop the act of bullying and inform the parents or guardians of all students involved.

The revised law will take effect on 1 June 2021, the report has stated. The amendment was approved at the closing meeting of a regular session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Saturday.

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