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Korea considers blocking minors from playing online games for over 3 hours
Korea considers blocking minors from playing online games for over 3 hours
January 27, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

South Korea's Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is reportedly reviewing a policy that would ban minors' accounts if they played online games for more than two hours consecutively, or a total of three hours in a day.

While there is already a shutdown law in place preventing children aged under 18 years old from playing online games during a late-night six-hour block, MEST's rationale for the policy is that game addiction comes from how long kids play games, not when they play them.

Critics are arguing that this new policy, along with the existing shutdown law and the recently implemented selective shutdown law, constitutes a "triple regulation" of the game industry in Korea -- and that MEST's theories on game addiction haven't been medically proven.

"If the game industry is really a troublemaker, then the related government [groups] should discuss it and provide guidelines to instruct us," said an unnamed game industry representative, according to a report from Korean industry news site This Is Game.

The official added, "Making similar policies from three different ministries does not make any sense at all. The two shutdown systems of the [Ministry of Gender Equality and Family] and the [Ministry of Culture Sports and Tourism] should be repealed if MEST's regulation is reasonable."

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Colin Schmied
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Do they not have parents in Korea?

Tomas Majernik
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Surely they do man, but they are busy playing MMOs ://

Harlan Sumgui
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Of course they do, but S.Korea has the longest work hours in the world. Many parents dont see their kids for more than a couple of hours a week . Kids are raised by the schools and by their computers.

Tawna Evans
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Wow, Harlan, that sounds just like the way my parents were, when I was a kid.

Americans also work long hours, but we don't have these sort of laws. Then again, the culture in America is vastly different from S. Korean culture, hence such laws are acceptable in S. Korea.

Michael Joseph
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Most games are pure entertainment. That's kind of bad. There's an opportunity cost to playing them... it can steal away the time from achieving excellence. Generally speaking, playing frivolous games won't make kids better adults. It may even be a vice. It's akin to junk food. Tastes great but not healthy especially in excess. The crux is, it's hard to get kids who lack the discipline and self control of (most? lol) adults to moderate themselves when it comes to fun or yummy things.

I suspect I'm not alone here, but I wasn't allowed a TV in my room until I was 14. Until that age we we watched TV as a family. Parents have accepted a lot of things as "normal" (and therefore ok) because of the type of normality that is perpetuated on TV. Today 10 year olds have tv's, dvd players, computers, console games and all sorts of things in their bedrooms. This is just my opinion, but I don't think majority of parents are aware that this aspect of our evolving culture is a negative one. Most parents place way too much trust in schools (some are effectively forced to due to work) to provide a well rounded education... but public schools cannot do this... they cannot raise kids. And yet, for many working parents, various teachers collectively see their children more than they do.

I think parents are heavily influenced by the Jones' they see on TV. Even the parents who put a lot of thought into raising their children, can only do so much when all of their child's friends are (dare I say) corrupted.

Regulation is not the answer, but educational awareness is.

"It takes all kinds of people to turn the world." For me that is a profound statement. That is why I feel there is a responsibility (often shirked) by those with a better education, with greater means, and more free time to help educate others who are doing other necessary unskilled work in the world but lack the wherewithal to recognize certain virtues let alone how to instill them in their children.

Buck Hammerstein
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can you bank your hours? if they don't play for a few days can they play 9 hrs in a day?

this most definitely falls under "parental choice" and not under federal law. i know people who let their kids play way too much online, hours upon hours, but it's their choice to let them play away their days. 30 minutes of homework and then 5 hours on MW3 with no time outside playing around with other kids... ahhh youth is wasted on the young.

Michael Joseph
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Do you have kids? How often do your kids choose something where you "chose" otherwise? What did you do when you found out they disobeyed your instructions?

I'll go out on a limb here and say I don't think you have any kids. Good luck dealing with that someday. There are methods to raising children that involves helping them learn and appreciate the value of virtues. It's not about "yes" and "no" decisions (choices) on the parents' part. A lot of parents haven't learned these methods and so aren't likely to know how to pass them on.

I don't believe in government regulation for such things, but I do believe in advocacy and trying to change cultures and belief systems. But the "parental choice" notion is lazy thinking in my opinion and completely out of touch. It also suggests selfishness and a lack of good regard for creating a better tomorrow for the world's children.

Cody Scott
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Dear South Korea.... let South Korean parents decide whats best for their one likes a nanny state.

Michael Joseph
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Where is the line drawn between nanny state and whatever name you wish to call the opposite thereof? (hint: there's no such thing as a free society)

By all accounts people love lawfullness (which necessitates there being laws to begin with). So we're talking about laws? So how would you draw the line between laws you like and laws you dislike? (the line between nanny and non nanny)

Is it the cliche "laws that prevent people from hurting other people?" Well, that is a giant can of worms isn't it? You probably want to insert the word "directly" or "intentionally" in front of "hurting other people." Still a giant can of worms.

Everybody likes to think it's the other guy who's woefully indoctrinated. Terms like "nanny state" reflect a political bias and not an objective thought.

Omar Gonzalez
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I know little about the Korean Social/Government paradigm to make a judgment, but hey, that's just me.

Doug Poston
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+1 million up-votes. ;)

I'd fight a law like this in the US, because it doesn't make sense here. But I have no idea what is right for the people of South Korea.

Todd Morin
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Actually, in the US we should consider looking at limiting cell phone use, Facebook time and TV viewing hours in addition to game playing time, for both children and adults. lol I can't say that I know anybody who sufficiently constrains themselves to prevent themselves from coming to harm. Whether it's missed meals and missed sleep leading to decreased performance at school or work, or botched relationships because their priority was a bit high on pursuing leisure activities. As we've become a networked society, whether through Facebook, texting or in-game chat, it seems most people have become obsessed with the fear of being left out, and therefore spend an inordinate amount of time "networking."