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Government Role Playing (Games) Games Your Rights Online

South Korea Announces Daily MMO Blackouts For Youths 148

Posted by Soulskill
from the probably-just-making-more-time-for-starcraft dept.
eldavojohn writes "GamePolitics reports that South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism has announced two new policies that will force underage gamers to pick a six-hour block of time (midnight-6 AM,1-7 AM, or 2-8 AM) where they will not be able to play 19 online role-playing games. While it targets most popular MMORPGs, some popular games like Lineage were left off the list."
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South Korea Announces Daily MMO Blackouts For Youths

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  • Stupid (Score:4, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday April 12, 2010 @04:56PM (#31823240)

    A lot of kids just suddenly turned 18...

    • by iSzabo (1392353)

      A lot of kids just suddenly turned 18...

      Wait, what?

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I believe he is suggesting that players would modify their date of birth in their player profiles to say they are over 18 to circumvent the law.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Daengbo (523424)

          Korea has an online ID law, so I don't think that would work. Real identities with real national ID numbers are used.

          • by Shakrai (717556)

            How delightfully Orwellian of them. I'm glad we stand ready to spill American blood and treasure to defend them.

            • by HungWeiLo (250320)

              And how many people in America can have a meaningful existence without a complete database of your personal information being held by the credit bureaus, banks, and the federal government?

              • by Shakrai (717556)

                You can live without credit. It's occasionally a PITA but it's certainly doable. Ditto for banks -- a few of my co-workers get checks that they cash at the employers bank and use greenbacks for everything.

                Anyway, nowhere in the United States are you required by law to cough up your SSN and DOB to register for a friggen website.

                • by tepples (727027)

                  You can live without credit.

                  Then how does one reasonably save up $100,000 or more to buy a house without a mortgage?

                  checks that they cash at the employers bank

                  Not all employers are big enough to have a bank.

                  Anyway, nowhere in the United States are you required by law to cough up your SSN and DOB to register for a friggen website.

                  I was required to use my SSN and date of birth to sign up for online repayment of a student loan.

                  • by DarKnyht (671407)

                    You can live without credit.

                    Then how does one reasonably save up $100,000 or more to buy a house without a mortgage?

                    Matress, Shoebox, buy your own safe, bury it, etc. Just because you have cash doesn't mean you must spend it.

                    checks that they cash at the employers bank

                    Not all employers are big enough to have a bank.

                    If they don't have a bank account then they are paying the employees in cash anyways so where is the problem in this? By employer's bank, he means the bank that your employer banks at not that they own a bank. You can also cash checks for a small fee at grocery stores, Wal-Mart, and a few other locations (with Check-Cashing in their names).

                    Anyway, nowhere in the United States are you required by law to cough up your SSN and DOB to register for a friggen website.

                    I was required to use my SSN and date of birth to sign up for online repayment of a student loan.

                    That would be because the loan already has your SSN and DO

                    • by tepples (727027)

                      Matress, Shoebox, buy your own safe, bury it, etc.

                      Carrying large amounts of cash as an individual is a good way to get mugged and/or accused of money laundering or financing of terrorism. See, for example, EU cash controls [europa.eu].

                      By employer's bank, he means the bank that your employer banks at not that they own a bank.

                      My fault. The English possessive case is ambiguous that way.

                      Society managed for years without credit

                      Society before credit also had commodity money and serfdom.

                      It is sad that we as a nation have become so dependent upon it.

                      I agree that one should not depend on credit in most cases. I treat my credit card as if it were a debit card and pay it in full each month. But buying a house is an exception due to the sheer dollar amounts involved.

      • by skine (1524819)

        It's like visiting an adult website.

        They something like: "You must be 18 or older to enter. Are you over 18? [Yes] [No]"

        A 14 year old boy can be 18 for five minutes (30 minutes on dial-up).

    • Re:Stupid (Score:4, Informative)

      by compro01 (777531) on Monday April 12, 2010 @05:22PM (#31823612)

      IIRC, registering for those online games in Korea requires your nation ID #, so that won't work.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by zill (1690130)
        1. Steal parent's/friend's/neighbor's ID #
        2. Register new account
        3. ???
        4. Play until dead [bbc.co.uk]

        Just look at how many drug related robberies happen every day; from what I've seen MMORPGs can be a lot more addictive than your average narcotic substance.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by trytoguess (875793)
      I rather doubt this will be possible. To sign up for pretty much anything online in Korea (with the exception of sites that cater to an international audience) you must enter your "resident registration number." [wikipedia.org] And like wikipedia so kindly tells us, the first six digits of that number is ones date of birth.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I rather doubt this will be possible. To sign up for pretty much anything online in Korea (with the exception of sites that cater to an international audience) you must enter your "resident registration number." And like wikipedia so kindly tells us, the first six digits of that number is ones date of birth.

        Yeah, because registration based on a number has worked so well in other countries and systems that impliment it...

        • Can't comment on how how many people are truthful about their RRN, but my limited observation is that folks generally only considering doing that when they try to access socially awkward things like porn. The stiff penalties that exist doesn't exactly nurture lying either. In any case, you can't just switch the number attached to your account. One would have to open a whole new account, and I wonder how many are that desperately addicted...

        • by rubycodez (864176)

          so the kids access porn and games via server or proxy in some other country. problem solved.

        • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

          I just checked wikipedia's article on this thing and it is worse than it sounds. The thing is absolutely and completely worthless for any sort of authentication.

          The resident registration number consists of 13 digits, with each block serving a certain function, as illustrated below:

          yymmdd-sbbbbnc

          The first six digits signify the person's date of birth. For example, a person born on September 1, 1946, such as former President Roh Moo-Hyun, would have 460901 for the first six digits.

          s, the seventh digit, ind

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by crossmr (957846)

            Generate them all day. it won't do you any good. Your name and the number is verified against the database. Any site which implements this system (which is all of them) must actually connect to the government database to verify. You also often have to verify your account with an SMS message to a cellphone registered in the same name. You cannot fake them. you can steal them, but you cannot fake them. So yes, they're completely worthwhile for verification. Other than people using stolen/borrowed ones, they k

            • You also often have to verify your account with an SMS message to a cellphone registered in the same name.

              Hmmm. At least in the US, that's not hard. $15 buys you a prepay SIM card, which I can register under anyone's name.

              • by crossmr (957846)

                you really are in training.
                Any account you create on a website in Korea is verified against the real name database run by the government, the phone has to match that same name and number, it is an extra step against ensuring against theft or "borrowing". To start with, there are no GSM phones in Korea (you're on the internet, would have taken you a short time to check that) While Korea is very wired, they're way behind on that. The only phones that come with SIM cards are dual mode phones that are marketed

      • So a lot of parents will suddenly take over their kids' accounts. Where's your problem?

  • FTFA: "The Ministry will also target young gamers who use the registration numbers of their parents in order to circumnavigate such restrictions."

    Anyone know what this refers to? Is it like an SSN or something?

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resident_registration_number

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It refers to the Korean residency registration number which all Korean citizens have. It's practically a requirement to sign up for any online site in Korea. It also has the handy effect of blocking any foreigner registration numbers from ever signing up for Korean services.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Daengbo (523424)

        That was pretty much the reason I left Korea. Massive nanny state. Internet filter. AND I was unable to join or post on many sites.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      A couple of years ago, there was a big disaster with Lineage 2 (insanely popular in Korea) where a bunch of Korean Social Security Numbers for everyone who played the game got leaked. As a result (don't ask me how this makes sense), the Korean government demanded that every MMORPG operating in Korea take down identification (in the form of KSSNs for Korean citizens) for every player using their system. This is why it is insanely difficult for non-Koreans to get into Korean MMOs - usually, they either have t

      • by crossmr (957846)

        There were also a number of government sites wide open you could google to get KSSNs, while I was still living back in the west I googled one up to get access to a couple games. it seemed like it was a health care site or something. They've since closed that down, no longer displaying the full ID number. Now that I'm here I just use a friend's ID who doesn't play video games.

  • Great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Computer_kid (996105) on Monday April 12, 2010 @04:58PM (#31823268)
    Now more kids are going to be on my lawn!
  • Freedom? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday April 12, 2010 @05:02PM (#31823304) Journal

    I'm not seeing it. It should be left to the Parents to decide what kids should be doing late at night, and I'd certainly prefer my kid be home during those hours, rather than outside getting into trouble.

    IMHO.

    • I am guessing that the intention was to prevent children from staying up all night playing these games. However, as you said, parents themselves should really be enforcing these limitations automatically without any external intervention.

    • Re:Freedom? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Renraku (518261) on Monday April 12, 2010 @05:07PM (#31823368) Homepage

      Because there's SO much to do in South Korea at night. This isn't about blocking MMOs, it's about trying to make sure that the kids have nothing better to do than go to sleep and get ready for school the next day. An appreciable number of young South Koreans play 10+ hours a day of MMOs and it will affect the next generations of the country.

      However, this is the wrong way to go about fixing the problem. Perhaps they should make more things for young people to do at night, other than play MMOs?

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Like drinking and prostitutes? Texas street anyone?

      • Well there should at least be an exception for Friday and Saturday nights. And you say there's nothing to do in S.Korea? Even in the middle of an Iowa cornfield kids can get themselves into trouble - I don't imagine it's any different over there. No games? The kids will go get drunk instead and screw the hot cheerleader.

        Plus: The article says kids connections will be throttled after X number of hours. So a kid's having a long session on a Saturday and after hour 6 suddenly he's throttled to Dialup s

      • Re:Freedom? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by LandDolphin (1202876) on Monday April 12, 2010 @05:38PM (#31823840)

        it's about trying to make sure that the kids have nothing better to do than go to sleep and get ready for school the next day.

        However, this is the wrong way to go about fixing the problem. Perhaps they should make more things for young people to do at night, other than play MMOs?

        If the goal is to get the kids to go to sleep, how would providing more things to do besides MMOs help?

        • I completely support this. Some days, I'd actually like to have a forced complete internet blackout so I could get off the internet and sleep.

        • Or how about starting school at 11am?

          There's some pretty strong evidence that teenagers have a biological need to stay up late and sleep in.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by LandDolphin (1202876)
            While I do not refute that there might be some evidence to support starting school at 11. I am not sure that a later start time for school would mean that kids would just stay up later than they already do.
        • by tsotha (720379)
          Well, presumably if you could get them to do active things they'd be too tired to stay up all night.
      • Because there's SO much to do in South Korea at night.

        I don't think you've been to South Korea, have you? Now, I must admit, I only spent two years in Seoul, but it seemed pretty cosmopolitan to me...

      • by Hatta (162192)

        Because there's SO much to do in South Korea at night.

        You might have mistaken South Korea for North Korea.

    • Re:Freedom? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BobMcD (601576) on Monday April 12, 2010 @05:09PM (#31823410)

      I'm not seeing it. It should be left to the Parents to decide what kids should be doing late at night, and I'd certainly prefer my kid be home during those hours, rather than outside getting into trouble.

      IMHO.

      Excellent point, but you're probably off-target.

      Currently:

      1) Kid eats supper, logs into (MMO)
      2) Hours roll by
      3) Kid glances at clock, notices that it is 2 AM
      4) Kid thinks 'meh', and keeps playing
      5) Kid notices the clock says 4 AM
      6) Kid elects to get three hours of sleep before school

      Ideally under the law:

      1) Kid eats supper, logs into (MMO)
      2) Hours roll by
      3) Kid glances at clock, notices that it is 1 AM
      4) Kid is blacked out from the game
      5) Kid whines about it on Facebook a while, then goes to bed

      Your scenario:

      1) Kid eats supper, logs into (MMO)
      2) Hours roll by
      3) Kid glances at clock, notices that it is 1 AM
      4) Kid is blacked out from the game
      5) Kid goes on a crime spree...

      I think the ideal scenario is more likely, as these are the kids that are electing to stay up way too late to play an MMO, rather than are out raising hell. In short, I think this law would have little impact on the types of kids who are out and about at that time of night.

      • by memnock (466995)

        i'll get modded troll or something, but i actually slept when i was a teen. i wasn't up until all hours of the early morning during the week. even on weekends, i usually was asleep by 1a. but that was because i knew i could sleep in. i wasn't walking around like a zombie during the week. i guess some kids did, because they'd get on the bus with dark circles under their eyes. don't know when they went to sleep to get that. there is no reason for kids to do that due to sleep deprivation because of their hobbi

        • by BobMcD (601576)

          Chances are, though, that you would have had you had the kinds of internet distractions that we have access to today. Especially since many, if not all of these are online and involve other people who are also up that late. It would be like having a friend over every night that never wants to crash before 3 AM. You'd probably at least want to stay up with them. Hopefully your parents would put the kibosh on it, but it seems Koreans want the law on their side. And with my own son as a guideline, I could

      • by Hatta (162192)

        Actual Scenario:

        1) Kid eats supper, logs into (MMO)
        2) Hours roll by
        3) Kid glances at clock, notices that it is 1 AM
        4) Kid is blacked out from the game
        5) Kid switches to game that is not on the list
        6) Kid notices the clock says 4 AM
        7) Kid elects to get three hours of sleep before school

        What has been accomplished?

        • Other games now get an influx of players.

          Hmm.. wonder if the people passing the law have any connection to games that are not on the list.
          • Probably they are not, they're just pissed that it's so damn hard to find groups in the early morning hours when they got time to play.

      • by PKFC (580410)

        In short, I think this law would have little impact on the types of kids who are out and about at that time of night.

        You're right about that part.. What I don't get is why enforce a curfew on a subset of youth? If you're going to try to straighten out youth, I would figure that you would want to target teens who would be more likely to commit crimes rather than a group that is less likely to do so.. To punish people for not committing a crime? Bad form imo..

        • by BobMcD (601576)

          No, no, I just think the law wants them rested for school/work/whatever the next day.

      • by Techman83 (949264)
        I lived the life of an MUD gamer, lived your first scenario till I was 19. I'm now a functioning member of society, who goes to bed at 10pm, gets up at 6am, walks the dog, goes to work etc. Honestly though, it's up to the parents and I did give mine hell as a teenager! But this is South Korea, since when was freedom guaranteed?
    • Parental involvement? Surely you jest.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by X-Dopple (213116)

      Actually in South Korea it's more likely than not the kids will be studying at any number of academies until midnight. I doubt there's any opportunity for them to get into trouble.

    • Except a lot of kids there don't have the luxury of their own gaming PC at home and flock to 24/7 Internet cafes which may not be the safest places at night.
      • by Fozzyuw (950608)

        This made me think of a recent news article [kotaku.com]... it's not Korea, but China, it's not an MMO but an FPS, but it does involve an internet cafe and "trouble". Some poor kid got a kitchen knife through the temple and survived. It's pretty fascinating.

        • I read it. My first thought was "so typical for a cheater, usually knife to head is a 100% kill".

    • I'm all for the government forcing more kids off mmo's - have you played any of them lately?

    • by bill_kress (99356)

      Wouldn't you say that if something should be left to parents and it IS left to parents and it isn't taken care of that there needs to be a fix beyond "this should be left to the parents"?

    • by zero_out (1705074)

      I'm not seeing it. It should be left to the Parents to decide...

      I see and hear this statement quite often, and sometimes I agree. This is one of those times. Most times, however, I disagree, and here is why. I know that this law pertains to SK, and not the USA, but in the USA we have prisons, welfare, and other programs for unproductive members of society, which are funded by taxpayers. That is, we who are responsible members of society have to support those who are not. When the parents are 100% financially responsible for their adult child's behavior, then I will

  • by masmullin (1479239) <masmullin@gmail.com> on Monday April 12, 2010 @05:07PM (#31823370)

    Now the rest of us can compete in PvP!!!

  • I'm going to make a killing running SSH proxy's!

  • the World of StarCraft beta...
  • While we sleep? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lemur3 (997863)

    How about I use my block during the hours of sleep i enjoy at night...... or while i am at work/school.....

    yeah this will work out perfectly!

  • All this is going to do is cause the MMOs that aren't on the initial list to see a huge rise in traffic during the blackout hours. So now instead of focusing all of their time on leveling one blue haired angel that can do a flying knee kick at the face of a tree who spits fairy dust at you -- they will have two to worry about. If these kid's parents are allowing them to spend upwards of 12 hours a day in front of the computer I have a feeling they aren't paying enough attention to know whether they are pl
  • Lineage II and other games not on the list brace for usage spikes during those time blocks. Stockholders are braced for wads of cash to fly their way. CEOs hope new subsriptions outway the bribes they paid to keep their games off the list.

    • Lineage 2 is rated 19+ in Korea, meaning that you have to be 19 years old to play it. Since this is a blackout list to protect youths, naturally Lineage 2 wouldn't be included.
  • How would they go about enforcing this? (article slashdotted) Are they going to block a family's internet connection because their one child will be playing during a different time? What if you have multiple children even?
    • by crossmr (957846)

      Accounts require real name verification here. There is no making multiple accounts unless you steal/borrow someone's ID and usually cell phone.

  • And society would benefit without question.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by selven (1556643)

      I know, it'll be great. Let's go and ban all the other undesirable elements of society while we're at it, and productivity will shoot through the roof! I say start with alcohol.

  • Let them learning some serious programming and they will forget about all these MMO in no time.
  • As long as they can pick a different 6 hours at any time they want.

    Think about it... every child needs sleep, this actually seems reasonable. That should be at least 6 hours a day, as any less is considered unhealthy.

    So while it's nanny-state, at least the terms are reasonable, and it's not forced to be the same 6 hours for everyone.

    In a free society such as the US, of course, this would be the parents' job, not the government's.

    • by crossmr (957846)

      You've never been to Korea. 6 hours of sleep for a high school student would be luxurious.
      Most of them only sleep 4. They're often studying until about 2 am and up at 6.

  • As opposed to North Korea, where you can spend as much time on MMOs as you'd like. Except the only MMO is standing guard at the DMZ, awaiting an attack by the South Koreans or the Americans. And it's not a game.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just moved into Seoul about two weeks ago. There are internet cafe's that advertise MMO's *everywhere*. I think within a mile radius of where I'm staying, I've seen at least 7 or 8, and quite possibly more than that. I don't get the appeal of these things...I tried WoW once, and it just seemed like a drawn out walking simulator to me!

  • Why can't parents just take care of this?

  • Literally.

    And it's a good thing.

  • I think the reason for this new measure decided upon by the government is because in Korea, it is far more normal for people to get together at a PC Bang (basically internet cafe), where first of all the kids waste their money and time (not to mention sucking up huge amounts of second hand smoke, even in the so-called "not smoking areas") and in addition to that, they pay less attention to their studies. In Korea in particular where studies are very important up through the end of high-school,

  • by Arancaytar (966377)

    That's a stupid limitation - grown-ups are not more immune (in many cases less, because nobody tells them what to do) to game addiction.

    If they wanted an effective measure, they should enforce that for everyone, but in practice they probably can't.

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