China bans under-16s from appearing on livestreams

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has announced a ban on under-16s from appearing in online livestreams.

The move comes after repeated incidents involving adult livestream hosts using children to make money. In 2017, livestream platform Meipai was exposed for streaming videos of adults removing their children’s clothes. In 2019, a female livestream host repeatedly insulted a young child to get attention and even brought the girl to dates with her. Meanwhile, in April, an MCN company forced children from rural areas to appear sad on livestream to make money. The agency made children cry by dropping eye drops or pinching the children.

The events have raised concern about the mental and physical health of children involved in the livestreaming industry. Restrictions have had long-standing support from the Chinese public. A poll launched by the People’s Daily on Weibo in 2020, asked: “Should age be restricted on live broadcasts?” 95% of the nearly 700,000 respondents voted that age should be restricted.

The topic quickly took off on Chinese social media. “#Children under 16 years old banned from live broadcast” (#严禁16岁以下未成年人出镜直播) has gained 260 million views and 16,000 comments on Weibo.

“Underaged idols should be restricted too!”

“I fully support this, it is not a good thing to enter such a complicated industry at such a young age.”

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