Why Does China Want to Limit Screen Time?
Smartphones are beneficial, even for kids. But, of course, to some extent only. They boost social interaction, allow them to make emergency calls, learn on the go, and find entertainment when boredom hits. However, this is mostly true for teenagers. Younger children use smartphones to play games and watch videos, and although online play can have some benefits, bad habit development and exposure to blue light from such a young age can lead to nasty consequences.
For example, a research paper titled Association between mobile technology use and child adjustment in early elementary school age states that “frequent use of mobile devices appear to be associated with behavioral problems in childhood.” Continuous smartphone use could also affect physical health, leading to neck and back pain, vision problems, and similar issues.
To make matters worse, a survey from 2020 conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 60% of children in the US were exposed to smartphones before they turned five. Within the same group of participants, 31% had first used a phone before age two.
In other words, it’s evident that we’re in a crisis. China recently announced its plans to limit screen time to no more than two hours a day to deal with this rise of smartphone addiction. However, if they manage to turn this idea into reality, only 16-18 years olds will enjoy such privilege. Children aged 8-16 would have to come to terms with one-hour screen time, while kids under eight would only be allowed eight minutes of smartphone usage.
A so-called ‘minor mode’ would make implementing these restrictions possible. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) urges smartphone providers to incorporate it into their devices, but it still isn’t clear if or when this plan will come to life.
Although this might seem like a rigorous approach, these guidelines are recommended by doctors worldwide.