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China’s Youth League creates apps to prevent cellphone addiction among teenagers

By Jiang Jie (People's Daily Online)    16:13, September 13, 2017

A new app designed to prevent teenagers from cellphone addiction was launched on Tuesday by a company started by the video center under the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China (CYLC), marking the second step in a series of measures to protect teenagers from the increasingly complicated virtual world.

(App demo by an employee  Jiang Jie/People's Daily Online)

Technologically supported by the Beijing-based company 360 Enterprise Security Group, Zhongqing Qiwei or CYIP, unveiled its “Qiwei Guardian” app for android smartphones on Tuesday at the Chinese Internet Security Conference 2017 in Beijing.

The free app gives parents control over their children’s use of their smartphones. By downloading the app on their phone and linking it with their children’s phone, parents can limit the time their children spend on their phones and what kind of apps they use. The app also allows parents to restrict certain websites.

A child's phone (right) has screen locked by the parent's phone (left).  Jiang Jie/People's Daily Online

A child's phone (right) can no longer use a game app through the setting from a parent's phone (left). Jiang Jie/People's Daily Online

Beyond that, parents can also set a “safety neighborhood” for their children. If a child leaves their safety space, the app will issue a warning to the parents for their safety. The location service can also allow parents to track their children’s movements.

“Children cannot delete the app unless the parents deactivate the service from their phones,” an employee with the company told People’s Daily Online, stressing that the app is designed to protect children rather than restrict them.

A similar service for laptops and desktops now has more than 600,000 users, the employee noted. She added that the smartphone app is currently only available for Android phones, but the company is working on an iOS version.

Chinese parents, who are known for their ambition to raise well-educated children, have been struggling to find ways to keep their children from spending too much time online. Some measures have been criticized as too extreme, such as the notorious Yang Yongxin, a self-claimed expert who uses electroshock therapy to cure “Internet addiction.”

The number of netizens aged 6 to 18 reached 150 million by the end of 2015, accounting for over 20 percent of all Chinese netizens, data from China Internet Network Information showed. Meanwhile, a white paper report in 2016 showed that 79 percent of the surveyed teenagers had encountered negative information online, including online fraud and pornography.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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