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South Korea Blocks Late-Night Online Gaming for Adolescents 108

Posted by Soulskill
from the digital-curfew-keeping-the-zerg-safe dept.
PolygamousRanchKid writes "In its effort to curb game addiction among adolescents, South Korea pulled the plug this weekend on young gamers after midnight by blocking access to game websites, putting a hotly debated law into practice. The new system called the 'shutdown law,' also referred to as the 'Cinderella law,' blocks those under the age of 16 from accessing gaming websites after midnight and has fueled heated anger among younger gamers and avid game fans. Critics point out that many teenagers hold gaming accounts created with their parent's personal information, easily providing them with an alternative log-in option. 'You can say someone is an alcoholic if they drink more than three bottles (of liquor) a day, but you can't call them alcoholic because they drink after midnight. It's the same with gaming,' Lee Byung-chan, the lawyer who filed the petition on behalf of parents and a young gamer said. 'From the parents' point of view, it violates their right to educate their children,' Lee added. It is for the parents to decide what time they want to allow their children to play games or not, not for the government to exclude them from that process, the argument goes."
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South Korea Blocks Late-Night Online Gaming for Adolescents

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  • Another idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jhoegl (638955) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @12:30AM (#38144890)
    How about after school programs?
    Having people exert themselves mentally or physically actually does make them tired. Games dont do either.
    • Re:Another idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sahonen (680948) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @12:49AM (#38144992) Homepage Journal
      If you don't think playing games is mentally exerting, you're not playing the right games. Starcraft in particular is one of the most popular games in South Korea, and is frequently compared to chess.
      • Re:Another idea (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Hadlock (143607) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @01:19AM (#38145162) Homepage Journal

        And, like chess, it has no skills that transfer on later in life. The burnout age for professional starcraft players is under the age of 30. After school programs like chess at least promote some level of socialization (no matter how remote). Sports and other extracurricular activities promote health and socialization, among other things.

        • by epyT-R (613989)

          'socialization' isn't the only thing to vie for in life. it's a component, not the be-all-end-all. also, many of these kids would be ridiculed if they tried out for athletic teams.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            'socialization' isn't the only thing to vie for in life. it's a component, not the be-all-end-all. also, many of these kids would be ridiculed if they tried out for athletic teams.

            That attitude is self-defeating. Any kid can learn a sport well enough to compete if they try. With rare exceptions, high school sports really aren't all that competitive, and if your school does have a top tier team in one sport, you can just aim for another. It's healthy, it builds self-confidence, and it preps you for later in life when you meet new people who might want to do a pickup game of basketball or start a company softball team.

            Our culture likes to push this idea that if you're smart you must

            • So you're aiming for sports for the sake of sports? So if I like football but I'm not really good at it, I should consider switching to boxing because it's a niche in my school?
              Good job.
              Why not actually offer your kids alternatives without pushing them into one direction or other?

            • Our culture likes to push this idea that if you're smart you must be an unathletic weakling. It's self-fulfilling. We tell kids that if they're smart, they'd just humiliate themselves by trying out for a team. They believe it, don't try out, and become weak for lack of exercise.

              Funny, we seem to have missed that message. My senior year in high school, the lead player on the state high school basketball championship team (kind of a state religion here in Indiana), who also won the Arthur Trester Award that year as the outstanding individual player was also a National Merit Scholarship Finalist. In fact, the coach coach of that team attributed their victory at least in part to the fact that his team had the highest GPA and highest standardized test scores of any team in the Final

          • Re:Another idea (Score:4, Insightful)

            by tixxit (1107127) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @10:56AM (#38148284)
            Then don't try out for an athletic team. I used to skateboard after school (it helped we had a skatepark 100m from our school). You can also join houseleague teams or just do your own thing with a friend (eg. tennis). Even if you do try out, I usually find there is a big difference between perception and reality when you fear you may humiliate yourself. I had a friend decide to try out for the school's rugby team on a whim (he was a "weak" nerd type). Turns out he made a great hooker and had a great time on the team that year and made lots of new friends. Regardless, you don't have to be the best at something, or even good at it, to enjoy doing it. Look at all the hoards of bad golfers out there (including me) for proof.
        • Re:Another idea (Score:4, Insightful)

          by englishknnigits (1568303) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @01:42AM (#38145308)
          Yes, thinking clearly and strategically under pressure has no practical applications. Problem solving skills and thinking critically are also useless. Learning how to smash into someone, hit a round object with a stick, use steroids, and training to the point of causing life long injuries for a 0.001% chance of fame/fortune are much more useful skills. If you actually think about it, pretty much all activities we indulge in are ultimately useless aside from the enjoyment/fulfillment we get from them. Starcraft IS an extracurricular activity that many people get enjoyment/fulfillment from.
          • Re:Another idea (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Hadlock (143607) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @02:05AM (#38145444) Homepage Journal

            Sports beyond football have been known to exist - baseball, tennis, swimming etc. If you want to expand beyond that, there's marching band, dance, ballet, cheerleading etc which require more finesse and coordination, but less brute strength. The same skills you list to be learned from SC can be learned on the speech or debate team at any school, and are more directly transferable to jobs. I don't doubt people enjoy SC (otherwise Blizzard may not have existed today) but I have reservations about how well being a top notch SC player translates in to being a successful person in meatspace. Many speech/debate students at the national level end up as successful law students based on the skills they learned through debate.

            • And what life skills are you learning by posting on Slashdot? Shouldn't you be out working on your debating skills, instead of involved in an activity which, while it may be relaxing and enjoyable, doesn't serve to further equip you for life?

            • Re:Another idea (Score:4, Insightful)

              by pandronic (1275276) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @03:00AM (#38145798)

              How about everyone does what they enjoy in their time? Why does the state or you for that matter think you know what's best for someone else?

              • by Rogerborg (306625)
                I agree, the children under discussion here should be allowed to sleep 16 hours a day consume nothing but candy and vodka if they want do. It's bullshit that anyone tries to tell them what to do. WHATEVAH! I DO WHAT AH WANT!
                • Re:Another idea (Score:4, Insightful)

                  by war4peace (1628283) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @07:20AM (#38146906)

                  Your comment raises another interesting question: when does someone cease to be a child? At 21, when they are allowed to drink alcohol? At 18, like in Europe? At 16, when they are allowed to drive a car? At 14, when they get their ID card (at least here in RO)? Or are these all, um, I don't know, standard ages that don't really reflect anything?
                  I remember being more mature at 14 than most of my school mates; I was interested in the same things and activities people aged 20-24 were usually performing (except sex, that was still blurry to me, of course). I was rather lonely at school because of that. Even now, in my low 30s, I would rather spend time with people aged 40+ because they better fit my areas of interest and I have more productive discussions with them.
                  So please... I was perfectly able to function as an adult at 16. On the other hand, some people can't properly function as adults even after reaching 40.
                  It's down to the human being itself; so when a government applies a blanket law like this I call bullshit.
                  "Everyone under age of 16 shouldn't play games after midnight" - probably holds true up to some extent. But actually forbidding it - that's dangerously close to dictatorship.

        • Socialization is only important to those who it is important to.

          • by Shinobi (19308)

            Wrong, socialization is important for the mental health of all people, even people with autism spectrum disorders.

            • "Important" as in "valuable." Different people value different things. And even people who are constantly online get a tiny bit of socialization.

              It's up to them to get more.

              • Also, I doubt that a person would go insane without any socialization. Depending on the person, that is. If you have someone who doesn't care about socializing (but doesn't mind doing it), and you place them in a world without any people (one that still has food, water, entertainment, etc), I think they'd be fine. I'd say it depends on the person, and I'd be hesitant to use the word "all."

        • So, you're saying that the ability to quickly assess a situation and make strategic decisions isn't useful? Or the ability to mentally track multiple things simultaneously and still being able to function yourself, too? Because I can definitely see use for such skills on multiple areas. Games, especially RTS games, are plenty good for developing skills one needs later in life. You're just too short-sighted to realize that.

        • by gslavik (1015381)

          There are athletic sports where an average career lasts for about 3 years (American Football) with skills that do not transfer on later in life.

        • I disagree here about Chess.

          There's two time periods: Pre 1995 and 1995-2012 (to go all Mayan about it.)

          Pre 1995 chess was about Localism and learning to be a medium fish in small ponds where everyone had the informants and ECO and 12 books, but you could get snookered by a good over the board response you just never saw coming.

          1995-2012 chess is about information research, computer pre-checking your repetoire. Sure, it will hasten the decline of chess but come on, it's been in the top 5 durable games ever.

        • by Qwade79 (2464458)

          it has no skills that transfer on later in life.

          I've always thought that the ability to plan and schedule creation of troops within the constraints of a resources budget would translate nicely to some project management type roles. Just my 2c.

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      Having people exert themselves mentally or physically actually does make them tired. Games dont do either.

      There is plenty of mental exertion in games, particularly the most popular RTS games. And have you ever played Wii, PSMove or Kinect games? Certainly plenty of physical exertion to be had there.

    • Hmm... adolescents... late night... why aren't they fucking?
    • Re:Another idea (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Ukab the Great (87152) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @01:11AM (#38145128)

      Pot circles, keggers, and wild make-out parties are excellent after-school activities for healthy teenagers. Perhaps they could get school district funding.

    • by LostMyBeaver (1226054) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @03:36AM (#38145988)
      The law is almost certainly because the Starcraft, Wow, CoD etc... players are showing up for school each day looking like they're dead on their feet. Then on top of that, a huge number of guys staying up to 4am on a school day watching "The Pro's Play".

      In the west we simply assume that the kids who do that will one day make an excellent addition to the staff at McDonalds... After all, if their parents are stupid enough to let their kids stay up late like that on school nights, then the kids are most likely equally worthless... so screw them. Korea on the other hand appears to think that these kids shouldn't be showing up looking dead to school each day, getting poor grades and taking away from the students who will be more motivated.

      Now... I on the other hand stayed up until 4am on school days programming and designing electronics which made me utterly worthless in school each day... if I deigned to present myself there at all. I was more interested in learning than attending school (though I did read all the text books cover to cover... hence learning). I'm not quite sure that becoming a better Starcraft player counts as educational though.
      • by N1AK (864906)

        In the west we simply assume that the kids who do that will one day make an excellent addition to the staff at McDonalds

        Nice strawman you've got there. Most people who object to these kinds of government intervention dislike them exactly because they don't want people making judgements about other's actions and intervening. I think a parent who allows there kids to stay up to the early hours on school days is probably making a mistake, it doesn't mean I want the government to try and control it. As to your

  • Anyone keeping an eye on the SC/SC2 playercounts before and after this?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The network at home shuts down at 11 (only if I'm not logged on to my PC of course) and doesn't come back up until 7.

    Got fed up with my kids leaving the server and gateway machines (next to our bedroom) on all night ;).

    These were young adults, not teenagers and slow to learn the Golden Rule

    (Fear the BOFH)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Don't get them wet.
    Don't let them game after midnight.
  • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @12:41AM (#38144944)
    I for one am glad there is no such thing as a single player game you can get addicted too. *goes back to playing skyrim*
  • Military Service (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sigvatr (1207234) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @12:51AM (#38145006)
    Honestly, this will have an even greater effect than people are imagining at the moment. All males must service mandatory military service after high school, so they will probably have to wait a while longer to play games after midnight than people are thinking. This is all just a conspiracy by older people to make younger people not have any fun.
  • by quacking duck (607555) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @01:01AM (#38145066)

    Finally, professional Starcraft players from other countries finally have a chance!

    (based on the single "Barcraft" I've been to, iirc the semifinals were all South Koreans)

  • I didn't even know they had very many teenagers playing onli-
    Wait, South Korea!?
  • They way I see it, it's still possible for parents to educate their teens in any way they see fit, for if they want to allow their son/daughter to play after midnight, all they have to do is create an account with the parents' names on it.

    I think this law is only providing a good tool for parents to control their children's addiction. Of course, if it's as simple as creating an account using your parents' info (without them requiring to sign up on anything), then the whole thing is kindda useless, but the a

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Having their parents be parents instead of making a lame law?

  • by mehrotra.akash (1539473) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @03:08AM (#38145840)
    2 scenarios
    A) I can do homework and studies after midnight, but no games, then I am going to game till midnight and study after that
    but if the restriction wasnt there,
    B) I would finish off studies first and game after that for whatever amount of time I want
    in A, I'm playing with a fresh mind, and studying with a tired mind
    In B its the reverse
    Why would the govt. want students to study with a tired mind?
  • under the age of 16

    Nevermind, Leenock is safe.

  • by Cyberllama (113628) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @06:58AM (#38146808)

    But it seems pretty obvious to me that we should start treating addictions, especially "gaming addiction" as a symptom instead of a disease. In fact, symptom may be too strong of a word--coping mechanism might be more suitable. I'm not going to tell you that kids can't stay up all night, neglect their schoolwork, and seriously harm their academic futures by way of "gaming addiction"--but we really ought to be a lot more concerned with figuring out why certain kids feel like they need that sort of escapism in their life rather than just slapping some sort of one-size fits all band-aid on the situation and then patting ourselves on our collective backs.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that "gaming is treatment" and therefore it shouldn't be restricted. To the contrary, I understand that it may be necessary to limit a child's access to video games in order to prevent them from entering a cycle of excessive gaming --> Failure --> depression --> more gaming ---> more failure --> etc. I'm just saying each child's situation and problems are completely different, and that no singular solution is going to fix every kid, and for some, something like this might do more harm than good. I have no doubt in my mind that for some kids, video games are the thin line between "coping on a day to day basis" and "suicidal tendencies". We may be seeing policies like this in China and Korea first, but many western countries aren't too far behind unless there's a sudden outbreak of common sense.

    • I have no doubt in my mind that for some kids, video games are the thin line between "coping on a day to day basis" and "suicidal tendencies".

      I'm not going to go to details, but suffice to say that I have had a somewhat rough life and atleast from personal experience I have to agree with you: I likely wouldn't have made it to this day without something to occupy myself with, and games happen to be extremely good for such.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I am an expert, and addiction IS a symptom any always was.
      But you are right in a more general way: Most doctors seem to act as if symptoms were diseases... in general. And as if their source could be *an organ*. Which is pretty damn dangerous as a mindset of society.
      In reality, there are only two sources of diseases: Genes and a influence from outside world. Period. Never ever forget that.
      Outside influences can be: Food, social interaction, cleaning and hygiene chemicals, and generally environmental hazards

    • by dr2chase (653338)

      "More gaming -> ... -> more gaming" works out okay for the gaming companies, doesn't it?

  • This may be an unintended consequence of a law that was recently passed in SK that prohibited late night classes from going past 10pm (roughly 1-2 years ago). In SK it was very common for teenage students to attend classes or study halls until around midnight before heading home. It seems possible that with that with the extra time they have available they now just go to the PC room (internet cafe) and game rather than going home (many Koreans game at PC rooms rather than at home).

    Interesting to see how thi

    • No, you just require proof of age and lock people out of the server at a specified time. This is needed in every country. Kids do not have a right to game all night, and I would personally, as an older adult, appreciate an adult time for game servers. World of Warcraft has needed this for years.
  • The one noone ever talks about. Socializing. There are a ton of people out there that are obsessed with each other, and I mean to an unhealthy level. I know people who literally cannot stand being "single" for a day. They fall into depression when there is no drama circling their lives.

    Why don't people ever discuss *that* addiction?

    I'm an introvert but I've been quite happy with my life despite coming off as quiet and reserved compared to most people. I just do not find human culture as the pinna
    • Yes, this socialization you speak of is masking clinical depression in some cases. A lot of people cannot stand to be alone. They will also associate with people they do not like and that do not really care about them just to be in the mix and avoid solitary thought. It is definitely a problem. When real life sets in one day these people are going to wreck their lives because of it, I've watched this happen. It is difficult to distinguish this behavior from standard teenage socialization unless you are awar
  • Freakin A!! GAWD I wish we had this rule in America! Then the adults could have some good gaming and the 12 year olds would get some much needed regulation. Good one Korea!
  • If South Korean teenagers are wasting their lives in virtual worlds, it means they have nothing to strive for in this one. Taking away the escape mechanism will not do anything but make them take more extremist escapist measures like getting into mind altering drugs. The problem that needs addressed, and it actually applies internationally to pretty much every nations children, is that the new generations are disenfranchised with our outdated methodologies regarding education. We treat it like a factory
  • A lot of fun games come out of South Korea. I've played a few MMOs and other online games from there. However, the most annoying thing is the fatigue systems they put in. I can't even sit around with my friends, drink, and play any of these games with them over a Saturday because any in game gains I get will be cut off after an hour or two of playing. I used to play Dungeon Fighter Online, for example, and could only get about 3% of a level per day because the experience requirement was so high and I wa

  • People are dying over there from gaming addictions. I say it's the right move. I don't see that the alcoholism analogy has any significance. They're two very different addictions with different causes and symptoms.
  • 'You can say someone is an alcoholic if they drink more than three bottles (of liquor) a day...

    A DAY??

    Whoa, South Korea—you scary! (And I've drunk soju.)

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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