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2021-09-22 09:11:59

China’s leading internet company ByteDance has launched a short video platform for children and adolescents, aiming to provide more educational content online, domestic media reported Monday.

The new TikTok-style app called Xiao Qu Xing — meaning Little Fun Star in English — will provide short videos on subjects ranging from science to general knowledge curated by the platform, according to the media report. Unlike Douyin — the Chinese version of TikTok — users cannot share or upload videos on Xiao Qu Xing and are only allowed 30 minutes of screen time on weekdays and 40 minutes during weekends.

ByteDance hasn’t officially announced the launch of Xiao Qu Xing, and the company declined to elaborate when reached by Sixth Tone. 

Left: A screenshot from Xiao Qu Xing shows a video about role models; right: A screenshot from Xiao Qu Xing shows videos on art lessons. From Weibo

Left: A screenshot from Xiao Qu Xing shows a video about role models; right: A screenshot from Xiao Qu Xing shows videos on art lessons. From Weibo

ByteDance’s announcement on Xiao Qu Xing came Sunday, just a day after it rolled out the “teenage mode” for users under the age of 14 on its immensely popular platform Douyin. The feature limits use of the app for these users to 40 minutes per day, between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

The new app comes at a time when many parents have expressed anxiety over the country’s “double reduction” policy, introduced to ease the needs of working parents, as well as reduce the academic burden on children. The prohibition on the after-school tutoring centers under the policy has affected tens of thousands of students and teachers, including at ByteDance’s educational operation.

Meanwhile, some parents already anxious over the tightening of private tutoring believe ByteDance’s new platform is unlikely to ease their concerns regarding the newly found free time children will have.

Wu Wei, a mother of two, told Sixth Tone that apps like Xiao Qu Xing were hardly a solution to utilize the increased spare time under the new educational reform.

“Kids are into short videos, and they are informative, but I fear they might gradually lose their critical thinking abilities,” she said. “As a parent, I would rather keep children away from short video platforms, regardless of the content.”

Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: People Visual)