Governments Start To Limit Youth Phone Usage

China and other nations continue to crack down on technology usage for minors, with America trying to catch up.

Written by David Zimmermann

What’s happening: China is passing sweeping rules to cut down children’s smartphone and social media usage to protect them mentally and physically. Children ages 16 to 18 will be limited to two hours a day, and children under 8 will have 40 minutes. Apps will also be required to only show age-appropriate content.

  • Catch up: The plan comes two years after the Chinese government restricted youth video game usage to three hours a week.

  • Zoom out: It’s a global concern. France was the latest nation to restrict social media use, mandating companies like TikTok to obtain parental consent for minors under 15.

America too: Utah Republicans signed a bill in March to prohibit state users under 18 from accessing social media platforms without parental consent. On the legislative side, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced a bill in February to ban social media from American children under 16.

  • Dive deeper: A survey found that almost 60 percent of teenage girls were persistently depressed in 2021, the highest in a decade and double the rate for boys. One in three girls considered suicide. Many point to the effects of social media.

Why it matters: Social media’s negative effects on society are far from a partisan issue. Lawmakers, including Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), are leading similar bipartisan efforts to curb technology addiction in America’s youth on a federal level.