Tencent Games uses facial recognition to restrict children’s screen time.



The Chinese internet conglomerate Tencent said this week that it would deploy facial recognition technology in its video games in an attempt to close a loophole in restrictions aimed at limiting screen time.

Underage players in China are required to log on using their real names and identification numbers as part of countrywide regulations aimed at keeping internet addiction in check. In 2019, the country imposed a curfew barring those under 18 from playing games from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. But some might try to use their parents’ devices or identities to circumvent the restrictions, Tiffany May and Amy Chang Chien report for The New York Times.

“Children, put your phones away and go to sleep,” Tencent said in a statement on Tuesday when it officially introduced the features, called Midnight Patrol.

Tencent said it began testing facial recognition technology in April to verify the ages of avid nighttime players and has since used it in 60 of its games. In June, it prompted an average of 5.8 million users a day to show their faces while logging in, blocking more than 90 percent of those who rejected or failed facial verification from access to their accounts.


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