A 16-year-old mother with her baby is seen in a screenshot from an online video. [File photo: cctv.com]
Several popular video streaming platforms in China have been criticized for promoting teenage pregnancy, after an investigation by China Central Television found videos of hundreds of pregnant teenagers and teen mothers online.
These teenagers, who mostly come from villages or small towns, have uploaded tens of thousands of videos onto the platforms in order to grow their number of followers.
And people are watching: on one popular streaming platform, a 19-year-old mother and her child's father have 45 million followers. A live stream of the couple with their one-year-old child can receive 2.8 million likes.
In some cases, it appears that the law has been broken: some of the mothers are only 13 years old, and China's Criminal Law stipulates that having sexual relations with a girl under the age of 14 is rape.
Because of the popularity of the videos of the young mothers, they are often promoted further by the streaming platforms, such as through the lists of recommended videos.
Tian Feng, an expert on youth and social problems with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that this risks exacerbating the negative impact of the videos.
"If a young person watched such a video once, the platform will continue to push similar content. The young person might feel this is what the world around them is like. He or she will think these abnormal or even illegal things are normal," said Tian.
According to China's Marriage Law, men under the age of 22 and women under the age of 20 are not able to marry.
In a video they uploaded to a streaming video platform, a teen couple shows off their life after they elope. [File photo: cctv.com]