Chinese children go online at increasingly younger ages, Guangzhou Daily is reporting.

According to a survey released at the Guangdong Internet Security for Children Forum on September 23, 2017, some children use social media as early as 3 years old, go online shopping at 7, and surpass their parents level of internet skills by the age of 14. The survey shows over 23% of preschool children (aged 3 to 6) go online for more than half an hour per day.

Chinese children consume and publish information at the very young age. Among the 7-year-old children surveyed, over 60% of them have downloaded games, videos or music on their own; 8.5% of them have shopped online; around 15% of them have posted pictures, videos or words on the internet; and 4.7% of them even claim to have fans.

Social media influences Chinese children at younger ages, too. Some children start to use QQ or WeChat, at the age of 3. Around 10% of 7-year-old children use QQ or WeChat, while over 70% of children aged 12 use social media.

The Chinese younger generation loves QQ, as a new report published by QuestMobile shows that QQ remains the top app for post-00’s generation (in Chinese). According to the report, the post-00 generation love spending time on instant messaging (89%), followed by online video (88.4%), online music (75.5%), e-commerce (71.8%), Weibo (66.4%), K12 (47.9%), and map navigation (46.3%). K12 here means that Chinese children do their homework with the help of internet platforms like Zuoyebang.

It’s interesting to see Tencent is largely dominating the apps that post-00 generations use. The top 10 apps chosen by post 00 generation were QQ, iQiyi, QQ Music, Taobao, Weibo, Zuoyebang, Baidu Map, Honour of Kings, Tencent News, and Meitu. Four apps are Tencent owned (QQ, QQ Music, Honour of Kings, Tencent News), three apps are Baidu backed (iQiyi, Zuoyebang, Baidu map), and two apps are Alibaba backed (Taobao, Weibo).

Chinese post-00 generation's top 10 apps (Image Credit: QuestMobile)
Chinese post-00 generation’s top 10 apps (Image Credit: QuestMobile)

“At the age of 14, children surpass their parents in key digital skills, which shows those ‘digital natives’ (children born after 2000) have advantages in employing internet tools,” said Zhang Haibo, from the authority that conducted the survey. “This poses a great challenge to traditional methods of education as well as cybersecurity.”

So why do Chinese children go online from so young age? It turns out that most children are getting attached to mobile devices in replacement of their busy parents. The children in the survey said they wanted to be accompanied by their parents rather than to play online games. “I’m really in sports, but no one plays with me,” said one boy surveyed,”so I can only play with my cellphone at home.” Given, however, Chinese media’s moralistic bias, we at TechNode take this explanation with a grain of salt.

Eva Yoo is Shanghai-based tech writer. Reach her at

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