Weibo to Impose Age Restriction for Children Under 14

By Jonathan Zhong, October 10, 2018

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In a bid to create a ‘clean’ and ‘healthy’ online environment, Weibo, one of China’s largest social media platforms, has announced plans to stop children under 14 from registering on the site.

The new regulation will take effect starting November 1, by which point children under 14 will no longer be able to create Weibo accounts. According to a notification published by Weibo Administrator, this is to ‘effectively protect’ children’s online safety and to ensure a ‘clean, healthy, civilized and orderly’ cyber environment.

READ MORE: Popular Weibo Features Suspended for Spreading 'Harmful Content'

Meanwhile, Weibo is also developing an exclusive version of the social media site for children under 14. This specially designed version will only provide family-friendly content and topics.

Given Weibo is a hugely popular social media platform with people from all age groups with a wide variety of interests, this new regulation seems to have been long overdue. According to recent studies, the monthly active Weibo accounts in September 2017 amounted to 376 million, among which 15.7 percent, or roughly 60 million, were accounts created by minors.

However, netizens are also raising questions regarding the actual implementation of this new regulation. “But this doesn't stop you from browsing Weibo, right? Not having an account only prevents you from leaving a comment,” said one Weibo user.

“But what about those under 14 who already have an account? Will their accounts be shut down?” asked another. "Clearly the kids can still browse Weibo either by creating accounts with their parents' ID or by using their parents' cellphones," another questioned.

Currently, Weibo hasn’t provided any specific answers to these questions, as reported by Southern Metropolis Daily.

[Cover image via wx4.sinaimg.cn]

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