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This month, Chinese internet giant Tencent began trialling a facial recognition age-check system to limit the amount of time kids spend playing its Honor of Kings online game. Driven by the Chinese government’s growing restrictions on video games, Tencent is verifying players’ ages by matching their faces to government records. The time allotted to children is based on their ages. The government has cited over-gaming - especially Honor of Kings, which grossed almost USD 2 billion last year - as causing widespread myopia, lack of focus in school, and even a national security risk by distracting its soldiers!

Here’s what you should be thinking about in light of this innovation:

2018: a digital tipping point? Digital detoxing isn’t new, but the past year has certainly seen a profound shift in perception: our near-total digital lifestyles are seen less as simply a personal choice; instead people have been manipulated to become digital addicts, with all the negative social outcomes that entails. Just consider: the World Health Organization officially classified ‘gaming addiction’ as a mental disorder; the nation of France banned smartphones in school. But it’s not just in China that tech companies are working with authorities, rather than trying to resist them: Samsung promoted Arianna Huffington’s Thrive app to its users; Apple’s iOS 12 release contained a host of ‘digital health’ features.

Behave, or else. Yes, we know it’s somewhat ironic that here’s a very tech-heavy initiative...designed to help limit tech use! However a recent global study of 25,000 consumers found that 97% believe brands have a responsibility to use technology ethically (perhaps the other 3% are just hardened cynics?!). Then most crucially: 94% said that if brands can’t use technology ethically, then governments should step in.

Your takeaways: are you focused on the digital metrics that really matter in 2019? And are there innovative new ways you can shape your users’ behavior for the better?