Tencent adds teachers to gaming controls for minors

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Screenshot of Tencent’s new game-monitoring system (Image Credit: Tony Xu / TechNode)

Tencent has started testing a new monitoring system for its games, enabling teachers to receive daily updates of students’ in-game time and purchases.

The system, dubbed “Star Guardian,” is the newest addition to existing controls from Tencent that limit how much time and money minors can spend on games. It can be accessed through the “teacher-student interaction” tab in Tencent’s official parental control platform on WeChat. As of writing, the system hasn’t appeared on Tencent’s parental control website.

To use the platform, teachers send students invitations through WeChat or QQ. Once students accept, they will be added to a class group where the teacher can see the time and money they have spent in games on that day and during that week. Teachers are not allowed access to information such as students’ log-in and log-out times, as well as purchase details, a Tencent spokesperson told TechNode.

The system isn’t binding, students can quit the class group they are in at any time, according to the Tencent spokesperson. In addition, the “Star Guardian” system is not a final version, as Tencent will collect feedback to improve its functionality.

Tencent has already implemented gaming controls including a real-name registration system for all of its games, limiting the playtime to an hour per day for players 12 years and under, and two hours per day for players aged 13 to 17. The system cross-checks accounts with a public security database and is in the process of integrating a facial recognition feature to reduce behaviors such as minors registering with adults’ IDs.

Also already in place is a parental control system for 72 popular Tencent titles that enables parents to limit their children’s game time to certain hours of the day and cap in-game purchases. This “Super Parent” system also includes a feature that allows parents the ability to kick their children out of a game with the click of a button.