Cue the Kvetching of Game-Loving South Korean Kids!
Why does the south Koran government feel the need to protect their youth from the evils of over-gaming? Well, if you believe the government minister in charge, it’s because Internet gaming is the equivalent to a gate-way drug; a scourge so damaging parents need legislative assistance to take control of the situation.
South Korea’s Online Gaming Problem
The South Korean government looks at online gaming like the RIAA looks at piracy – a threat that must be eradicated. And if you believe the agitprop, South Korean officials may be right. Minister of Gender Equality & Family, Younghee Choi, explained that “[o]nline games are the same as drugs. Parents can’t deal with the problem, so the government must take responsibility.”
Is Minister Choi exaggerating like the RIAA or is her concern based in facts? As you’d expect, most adults agree with Choi, but the students – while acknowledging their generation’s love for gaming – are skeptical about the efficacy of this new online gaming bill.
Shop owner, Kim Yeonsu, told a harrowing tale of how he once had to rush a patron to the hospital after they passed out from over-gaming in his Internet café. Bosung Hwang, a student, explained that “Korean students study a lot and have a lot of stress. They have to [sic] so many exams…so they try to ease that stress by playing video games.” (Does that mean university campus medics in South Korea are better equipped at handling acute carpal tunnel syndrome rather than alcohol poisoning?)
What Are The Rules Of The New South Korean Online Gaming Law?
The goal of the law is simple: curb the gaming of South Korea’s youth. To further this objective, the government mandated online gaming companies to provide a way for parents to communicate with their platform and set limits for their children’s allowable game-play time.
How Do South Korean Officials Plan to Enforce The New Gaming Law?
You may be wondering, “how in Kim Il-sung’s nemesis does South Korea monitor the amount of time each kid spends online?” The answer is a little shocking. Despite being a constitutional republic, complete with a check-and-balance three-branch system of government, every South Korean citizen does, indeed, have an “Internet user I.D.” they must use to access most websites. Yes, you understood that correctly. For all intent and purpose, using the Internet in South Korea requires a government issued I.D. number. As a result, developing personalized controls is easier (it also makes it a whole lot easier for officials to monitor their citizens…but that’s another topic for another day.)
Not the First Online Gaming Legislation in South Korea
The new parental control law is not the first gaming statute enacted by South Korean officials. A few months ago, they passed the Shutdown Law, which is popularly known as the “Cinderella Law” – but instead of a pumpkin and rag dress, South Korean kids risk a police record if found gaming after midnight.
As you’d imagine, the under 18-set in South Korea is scoffing, “Do you really think teenagers will not play…[we]’ll just [find and] use our parents ID.”
One last thought: Korean students are considered the most technologically savvy in the world and consistently rank #1 in international educational studies for problem solving. In other words, expect crack-codes to hit the Internet in 3…2…done!