Thursday, April 15, 2010

Newsy: South Korea Sets Gaming Curfew

South Korea is kicking users under the age of 18 off online games for six hours every night.
A policy enacted by The South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism cuts access to online games for six hours every night for users under eighteen.
The policy comes after a series of deaths linked to online gaming addiction. Most recently, a couple was charged with negligent homicide after letting their infant daughter starve to death while they diligently cared for their virtual child.
Gaming addiction is a growing problem in South Korea. Nearly thirty percent of South Koreans regularly play online games. A professional gamer tells Russia Today he can't stop: "Once I played it for thirty-six hours non stop and then just fell asleep. This was physically difficult but I couldn't stop, it was so fascinating. Then, after I woke up, I spent another thirty hours playing again."
CNN editor Chris Anderson is skeptical of how the government expects to enforce the curfew: "When it comes to things like this, you have all those people who want to play these games and it seems to me like they're going to find ways to play these games. Whether it's through using their parents online registration cards, you know, getting their own credit cards, where there's a will, there's a way. They're very tech-savvy youth in South Korea."
The rule applies to 19 top games that make up about eighty percent of the Korean game market. The Korea Herald reports games based outside S. Korea and some of the most popular games are not on the list of games enforcing the curfew: "Games which fall under the [RPG (role-playing game)] are the ones which require gamers to heavily invest both money and time. However, popular titles of the genre such as 'Lineage,' are not being included under the new policy."
With so many loop-holes already being reported, The Financial Times says success depends on the government's ability to monitor identities: "Much of the success of the crackdown depends on whether users, who by law must provide their social security numbers, can be effectively policed from stealing adult identities." 
Do you think the curfew will help curb Internet addiction? Or are there too many loopholes for the policy to be effective?
Writer/Producer: Erika Roberts

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