South Korea's "Shutdown Law" Takes Effect

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South Korea's "Shutdown Law" Takes Effect

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As of this week, children aged under 16 in South Korea are barred from playing online games between midnight and 6:00 am.

South Korea's government has long been worried about the prevalence of online gaming addiction in its tech-savvy country. Fearing the effects that high levels of addiction could have on its future (specifically, everyone failing school), the government passed a Shutdown Law in April this year which would ban all gamers aged under 16 from playing online games between midnight and 6:00 am. Earlier this week, the law went into effect.

The Shutdown Law (also known as the "Cinderella Law") is the brainchild of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism (MCST) and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (MGEF). Although it only covered MMORPGs when first drafted earlier this year, the law now prevents those aged under 16 from playing various forms of online game during the shutdown period (the PSN is already working to these new standards, and XBL has been given a two-month "grace period" to teach its system how to track users' ages).

The law's passage has been met with furious opposition from South Korean gaming groups and civil rights advocates. The Korea Association of Game Industry (KAOGI), an amalgam of 14 different games developers and publishers, has criticized the law for "excessive prohibition" focussed on one group and is reported to be preparing a lawsuit. Similarly, cultural solidarity group MoonHwaYunDae (MHYD) filed an appeal against the law to South Korea's Constitutional Court just over a month ago, but have heard little back.

The obvious way to attempt to dodge this law - by which I mean the teenager illegally hijacking a parent's identity to play - has already been taken up by 5% of teenage gamers, claims South Korean gaming site ThisIsGame. To deal with this problem, the MGEF wants games companies to collect additional information from gamers, including social security numbers and phone numbers, to strengthen account identification systems. As TIG notes, this is "exactly the opposite of personal information protection law."

The idea behind this law is that it'll push teenagers towards spending the wee hours sleeping rather than gaming, meaning that the government thinks twilight gaming poses so great a threat that parental control of power cables and ethernet wires isn't enough of a deterrent. While this law is offensive to the civil liberties of children, it is true that this group need sleep more than most; trying to judge whose responsibility the protection of that sleep-time is invokes a whole heap of ideological questions to which everyone will have a different answer. For now, though, the South Korean government's opinion is crystal clear.

Source: Gamasutra

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Mmm I'm not sure its going to have that much effect; if Korea is anything like the west, half the gamers will lie about their age to circumvent having to get age restrictions on their profiles.

Who needs parenting when you can just have the government do it for you.

I mean, it does sound like a noble idea, but there have go to be better ways of going about doing this.

God that's creepy...

Gotta love South Korea for this... I wonder how the want to implent that feature though...

Can adults opt in? I have to set an alarm clock to remind me to go to bed with some games (Minecraft and Battlefield 3 are the biggest offenders at the moment).

This needs to be an education campaign and not a law. If you educate people will stop a lot of people doing it, if you outlaw it a lot of people will find a way around the restrictions.

So they just can't play online games during those hours? Then they'd just play them offline out of boredom. Ridiculous idea.

Hevva:

The obvious way to attempt to dodge this law - by which I mean the teenager illegally hijacking a parent's identity to play - has already been taken up by 5% of teenage gamers, reports South Korean gaming site

How can that number possibly be based on any actual data? Was there a survey on adult accounts asking if they were really a lying teenager?

is it really that hard for S-Korean parents to yank their kids from the computer/internet cafe,s?

teqrevisited:
So they just can't play online games during those hours? Then they'd just play them offline out of boredom. Ridiculous idea.

You've been a naughty boy! no more chocolate cake for you! From now on... you only get... Carrot cake!

Seriously, agree with your sentiment. This measure is a complete waste of South Korean taxpayers money. It will be impotent, it will be a civil rights infraction, and worst of all, it's a complete bitch slap in the face to all South Korean parents.

"Hey guys, you can't seem to raise your kids so we're gonna do it for you. kthx"

Shouldn't the parents be doing this?

I can understand it from a parents point og view, failing school because of games is noy really a laughing matter, been there myself and its not a happy destination.

But i'm passive on the subject. I'm not a parent so I dont have to worry and im in my 20's so it wouldnt affect me

It's pretty goddamn disgusting that their government is trying to decide what people can and cannot do with their own spare time, no matter what reason.

RuralGamer:
Mmm I'm not sure its going to have that much effect; if Korea is anything like the west, half the gamers will lie about their age to circumvent having to get age restrictions on their profiles.

sinterklaas:
Shouldn't the parents be doing this?

In South Korean most computer gaming is done in cafes etc. Owning a personal computer isn't common thing. So it is up to the owner of the cafe or whatever they may be called to enforce this new law. I read about this a last year or early this year.

So lying on a profile doesn't work when the owner of a shops asks for ID, and well I don't know how parenting works in South Korea, but apparently the parents weren't stopping this before.

Jadak:
How can that number possibly be based on any actual data? Was there are a survey adult accounts asking if they were really a lying teenager?

They ask it to teenagers.

Just like they ask students if they ever cheated in a test.

I would support this, but not during summer or holidays.

Plus, if someone has been playing for more than 3 hours straight, they could just decrease XP/gold/points rates over time until playing did not generate any more XP/gold/points.

It's much better than giving you a schedule to play on.

Blargh McBlargh:
It's pretty goddamn disgusting that their government is trying to decide what people can and cannot do with their own spare time, no matter what reason.

I guess you don't know how gaming is a time sink in S. Korea.

If a government has no way to replenish their work force because everyone is failing at school and the population gets older and unable to work, how can you sustain a country? You don't, it crumbles apart.

But how can you play a game after midnight release?

i actually support this. Most people i know with insomnia is due to bad sleeping patterns they gained by never having their gaming monitored or stopped by their parents. Sad but true, if the parents won't do it, the government should.

I guess this isn't too bad..

Caramel Frappe:
.. This law doesn't justify their country's health with gamers really. All it does is limits people's rights and we all know that people do not like their rights to be restricted. They'll find ways around it, or simply lie to play after midnight.

Not to mention that they went about it the wrong way. It's a good plan, but the issue is that they did not take time to figure out better solutions. Sometimes, depending on the situation... time makes perfect especially for planning. So yeah, this won't help much. Also it makes me wonder why the Government wants to take responsibilities on the kids when it's the parents job to do so. Next thing we know, the Government will give everyone a personal reading time that they have to read for an hour outside of school.

Id guess its because they want productive generations of workers, and if the parents won't produce that then its in the nations best interest for them too.

If UK or US were more forward with anti obesity policies like this things would be much better.

At least in my eyes.

While this is tackling one problem however the main problem is really the adults (typically the ones who killed his or her self from playing it non stop or the ones with a chidl) who can't control themself when playing online games.

tthor:
I guess this isn't too bad..

What this guy said.

"But the parents should be doing this!" BUT THEY AREN'T.

Caramel Frappe:
.. This law doesn't justify their country's health with gamers really. All it does is limits people's rights and we all know that people do not like their rights to be restricted. They'll find ways around it, or simply lie to play after midnight.

Not to mention that they went about it the wrong way. It's a good plan, but the issue is that they did not take time to figure out better solutions. Sometimes, depending on the situation... time makes perfect especially for planning. So yeah, this won't help much. Also it makes me wonder why the Government wants to take responsibilities on the kids when it's the parents job to do so. Next thing we know, the Government will give everyone a personal reading time that they have to read for an hour outside of school.

Because if the parents do a shitty job of raising their kid, it can end up biting other people in the ass.

A for instance. The US has about 4% of the world's population, but 25% of the world's prisoners. And the second most common reason for incarceration is for violent crimes (Rape, murder, what have you. Things that affect OTHER people). Property crimes is number one.

Anywho, point is, the Government does actually have to step in and tell parents how to raise their kids if that many parents are doing such a shitty job of it.

lacktheknack:
"But the parents should be doing this!" BUT THEY AREN'T.

Also this.

Online gaming addiction can be a real problem for kids. In the west, not many people get truly addicted to online games like Call of Duty or Starcraft, they just enjoy them as hobbies. The exception are MMO type games, and if you've experienced MMO addiction or been around an addict, then hopefully you can see why it's an issue that deserves legal attention, specifically for kids.

An adult who works to support themselves and comes home to play WoW for 12 hours every day is living a precarious life, but that's their choice. But when kids who have never had a job are playing like that it's very hard to make them transition into adult working lives.

I see people saying "the parents should be handling this", I wish it were that easy. These kids are almost beyond help once they become addicted to gaming at that age. They don't just recover when you take away their computer access. Just like alcoholic anonymous says they are never cured and they have to fight the addiction every day, it's the same way with online gaming. Unless the kid can be steered into a non-gaming activity that they truly enjoy, then they always fall back to online games.

So anyway, I agree with what the law is trying to do. My only concern is to separate "normal gaming" from "addict gaming", because of course there is nothing harmful about logging on for a few quick matches at 2am, it's playing around the clock that is a problem.

I must point out.

Starcraft Brood War is not part of this new law.

I fully support this law actually, about time the Korean gov did something because every second day you here some ridiculous game-based tragedy story from Korea.

Well, this is going to be a problem for about 14 seconds before the south Korean hive mind work together to get around it.

The Crotch:
I must point out.

Starcraft Brood War is not part of this new law.

I think Starcraft is in their 'Bill of Rights'

As much as I hate the Government for doing parenting I would actually love to see this done in other countries to keep the whiny pricks off the online services at night. Not that all gamers under 16 but collateral damage happens.

Yeah, this is actually the right way of going about this, if anybody can think of a better way, then please do say.
I do know for a fact that gaming addiction is a big problem in South Korea, and is severely effecting studying.

Also, from what i've heard, parents are kind of useless in controlling and disciplining their kids.

Good way of handling it if you ask me.

So I dunno but isn't a lot of the online gaming in S. Korea done in internet cafes? I may be wrong but surely they could just ID people as they come in.

Of course if I'm wrong this won't work but just an idea.

Should free up the countries band width as well in the shut down time, Less lag...

Thamous:
Who needs parenting when you can just have the government do it for you.

This, exactly this.

I mean yeah North America needs better parents too, but basically this is the responsibility of parents/guardians, not the governments.

Yes, because kids won't be too tired to do their homework after midnight.

I don't see this as a bad thing at all. The South Korean government is stepping in to make sure the generations that are currently going through school don't end up addicted to online games. And though in keeps those under 16 from playing during certain times, its only during 12-6 am. That's pretty much the time when they should be sleeping.

So I don't see much wrong with this.

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