Editor’s note: A version of this post first appeared on Yicai Global, the English-language financial news service of Shanghai Media Group. Yicai Global is one of just two dedicated Chinese news feeds connected to the Bloomberg terminal.
QQ, the social media and messaging app created by Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. , has rolled out a children’s edition of its news portal.
Youngsters aged under 12 can access the targeted news by specifying their age on the platform. Unlike its adult news service, the version for kids will focus on popularizing science and educational content to prevent social and celebrity gossip from tarnishing the country’s youth.
The messaging app had around 653 million monthly active users last year, up 1.7 percent form 2015, most of which are children and teenagers. QQ users tend to be younger than those on WeChat, another popular messaging app run by Tencent. It’s easy to see why the Shenzhen-based firm opted to release special features for children. Youngsters on the app will find additional emoticons, short video uploading and special effects.
Some believe that social media content should also be age-rated. Foreign sites have tried a few approaches to reduce the adverse impact of social media on children. In 2012, Hilary DeCesare started EverLoop, a platform designed specifically for kids aged between 8 and 13. The mother wasn’t aware of the dangers of social media until her own children encountered problems while on Facebook.
The platform has partnerships with 24 companies and organizations, including the National Geographic Society and Mattel Inc. [NASDAQ:MAT], who own the Barbie brand. EverLoop lets children share their hobbies online and gives parents insights into what their offspring are actually thinking.
There is still no film rating system in China. Many view Tencent’s move as a positive step toward separating content aimed at children and adults. The children’s edition may also provide an option for adults who aren’t interested in reading tabloid-style news.