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Kids Turn to China’s TikTok as West’s YouTube Falls Behind

While TikTok dominates screen time in Western households, back in China children are unable to watch YouTube, which is blocked. 

Hong Kong
Children leave a school in the Shekou area of Shenzhen, Guangdong province. Photo: Reuters


TikTok’s use by children and teens has skyrocketed around the world with the China-owned video-sharing app pulling ahead of YouTube, according to research by Qustodio.

Young eyeballs rested on the app for 91 minutes a day in 2021, climbing well above YouTube’s 56 minutes, said Qustodio, which makes parental control software. American kids spent an average 99 minutes on TikTok while British children used it for 102 minutes, it said.

While the Chinese app is dominating screen time in Western households, back in China children are unable to watch YouTube, which is blocked.

Last year Chinese kids also were banned from online games for more than three hours a week amid a growing belief that screen time is having a sinister impact on society, described by one state publication as “spiritual opium.”

TikTok has turned up the pressure on YouTube by introducing longer videos, said a report by Tech Crunch. The app’s video limit was 15 seconds when established in 2016, but is now up to 10 minutes, it added

TikTok’s business will continue to surge, Insider Intelligence predicts, with ad revenue that will likely outstrip YouTube and Meta by 2024.


Google on the Back Foot

TikTok is also now preferred as a search engine to Google, YouTube’s sister company, by 40% of young people, according to a report by Business Insider.

“We keep learning, over and over again, that new internet users do not have the mindset that we have become accustomed to,” said Google senior vice president Prabhakar Raghavan at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference.

The internet giant has unveiled new search engine features to hold onto young users who are swarming to TikTok, including Google Lens, according to the Business Insider story.


  • Alfie Habershon




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Ban China From Social Media, India Expert Urges – The Register

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US Bill Would Ban Digital Yuan from Google, Apple App Stores

Alfie Habershon

Alfie is a Reporter at Asia Financial. He previously lived in Mumbai reporting on India's economy and healthcare for data journalism initiative IndiaSpend, as well as having worked for London based Tortoise Media.


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