Chinese parents forbidden to spy on kids’ ‘e-life’

July 27th, 2010 - 9:20 am ICT by IANS  

Beijing, July 27 (IANS) Parents in China can no longer secretly browse through their children’s computer or mobile phones from September after a law was passed aiming to protect the privacy of children.
The new law, the first of its kind anywhere in China, was passed by the regional government in Chongqing province, and will provide children with the legal means to defend themselves against cases of “spying” by their parents, China Daily reported.

Under the law, parents will be forbidden from secretly searching through children’s computers or cell phones for emails, web chats or messages.

But a survey by online portal sina.com said nearly 42 percent of some 2,500 respondents did not welcome the regulation.

Lu Yulin, a professor at the China Youth University of Political Science, says this precedent would not have much effect in reality, as most children would not bring their parents to court.

“It will bring very little change, as parents who habitually check such information won’t stop due to the regulation,” he said.

But he says the regulation signifies major progress in terms of laws for child privacy protection.

But Song Jingbo, a sixth grader in Xi’an city, was not worried, saying his parents have a long way to go before they can hack into his computer.

“I am far more internet savvy than they are,” said the 11-year-old.

Even if Song caught his parents intruding into his privacy, he said: “I won’t call the police, as I know they just want to help protect me.”

By the end of 2009, the number of minors using the internet in China exceeded 126 million, with about 74 percent of them accessing the web at home, the China Internet Network Information Centre said.

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