Beijing’s culture regulator issued an urgent notice on Monday that requires video streaming sites to self-censor all kid-targeted videos such as animations and cosplay dramas in a bid to wipe out inappropriate contents, Tencent Tech has reported.
In addition, the regulator also put a ban on the development and production of relevant games and derivatives contents. Any game including kid-unfriendly contents would be suspended immediately.
Children are falling easy prey of online inappropriate contents. Putting Frozen’s Elsa in their video, for example, to get it recognized as featuring that friendly critter, then having Elsa pregnant, having an injection or even sex. There’s also tutorials which teach kids to make fake poop with plasticine and glue.
Western video platform YouTube has had its own share scandals related to its lack of policing around inappropriate content aimed at children, including reference to sex, drugs, alcohol and more. To solve the problem, YouTube has eliminated over 50 channels and 150k videos from their site as of last November. Just as foreign video sites are taking tighter regulations, the same kid-focused videos are proliferating on Chinese mainstream video sites like Youku, iQiyi, Tencent Video and Sohu Video. In response to the public concerns, these sites are responding quickly by delisting these contents.
Maybe unbelievable to adults, but the influence of cartoons on children can be very huge and it may lead to tragedy if handled improperly. Pleasure Goat and Big Big Wolf (喜洋洋与灰太狼), one of China’s most popular homegrown animation titles, came under fire when two young boys were tied to a tree, placed on a bed of dried leaves and roasted “like lamb kebabs”, by their peer and alleged friend, in an apparent simulation of a scene in the animation.
China has over 170 million minors and the kids in first-tier cities spend an average of 3.5 hours on the internet.