A student attends an online class at home in Changchun, Northeast China's Jilin province, Feb 24, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]
Several domestic livestreaming platforms invited widespread criticism after promoting online games to lure minors who were offered free online courses on the platforms.
Livestreaming platforms such as Huya.com and Douyu.com have launched free online courses for students on their apps. However, when the students opened these apps to access the courses, they first got to see advertisements about online games; some advertisements even cropped up while the students were attending the livestreaming classes.
After the media exposed it, the livestreaming platforms have stopped online game advertisements from popping up in the free online course sections. However, we should reflect on the loopholes when it comes to protecting minors on the internet.
The novel coronavirus outbreak at the beginning of this year drastically changed the way education is imparted, with almost all schools launching online courses after the Ministry of Education suspended classes.
Because of their technological advantage, many livestreaming platforms launched free online courses, providing a one-stop address for students to get free education online. Around 270 million students were accessing such platforms to attend online classes.
But behind the so-called free online platforms there were illegal advertisements and promotions targeting the students. In pursuit of profit, these internet livestreaming platforms ignored their social responsibility of protecting the minors.
The incident also exposes the loopholes in supervision of minors' protection on the internet. Several central departments including the Ministry of Education prohibited online education apps from promoting pornography, violence and online games in 2018. But there's no similar regulation for the livestreaming platforms' online education sector. It underlines the need for regulators to improve regulation to better protect the minors.