In the latest tightening of restrictions on the use of social media by children, Beijing’s education authorities have issued new regulations concerning apps and WeChat groups associated with elementary and middle schools.
As reported in technode.com, schools have until March 1 to check all apps, groups, and accounts, and ensure they are free of advertisements, games, and hongbaos. The new rules however are not all concerned with the “clean and righteous cyberspace” promised by President Xi Jinping. Many of them are part of the government’s ongoing efforts to challenge the culture of excessive and harmful competition in Chinese education.
Schools are forbidden from ranking students or publicizing their grades, comparing students, or discussing their home backgrounds. They are also not allowed to mention extra homework or schoolwork, or pressure students about exams.
Educational apps too are coming under increasing scrutiny to prevent exploitation of children. They cannot charge money, or make students compete with each other.
As with previous measures to reduce academic pressure on young children, the government is fighting against deep-rooted cultural attitudes. It remains to be seen what impact these new regulations will have.