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Tencent’s new facial recognition program curbs gaming by children in China

Chinese tech giant Tencent has released a facial recognition system for certain games in China to stop children from playing video games after hours.

In 2019, China passed an anti-addiction bill that focuses on curbing children and teenagers’ time spent playing video games, especially at night. Children and teenagers are only allowed to play 90 minutes of video games on the weekdays, and only three hours on weekends and holidays. This bill also introduced a curfew for children and teenagers playing video games. They also are not allowed to play videos between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Tencent’s new system seemingly enforces those rules through tech. Dubbed the “Midnight Patrol,” this system scans a player’s face at the computer screen and runs it through a catalog of registered names and faces. If a child or teenager goes past the allotted time, they won’t be able to play the game until they get more time on their account.

Tencent will implement this facial recognition system in about 60 of its games including Glory of the King and Peace Elite. League of Legends is currently not one of the games on this list, but it may be rolled in on a later update.

Players who avoid the facial scan for these games will automatically be assumed as a minor and the game will shut down. That means a facial scan is required to play these games. According to Tencent’s press release, if adults are mistakenly kicked off, they just have to try the facial scan again and it will let them back on the game.

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