World

S. Korea implements law to combat teenagers computer game addiction

English.news.cn   2011-11-21 16:23:54 FeedbackPrintRSS

SEOUL, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Online game addiction has taken a toll on South Korean society, resulting in a string of appalling crimes that often involved youngsters.

A middle school student scolded for excessive gaming killed his mother then committed suicide last year; a high school student jumped to his death after having had conflicts with parents over his gaming habits earlier this year some of tragic incidents that showed the dark side of one of the world's most electronically-connected societies.

The rate of Internet addiction among elementary and high school students stood at 12.4 percent last year, more than twice that of adults, according to a report released by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security.

The streets of Seoul are dotted with Internet cafes, called PC bangs, where youngsters spend hours on end playing online games.

Hence, as part of its efforts to battle online game addictions among teenagers, South Korea introduced a law that prohibits those aged under 16 from playing online games between midnight and 6 a.m.

The so-called shutdown law finally came into force on November 20 after having caused so much uproar over its effectiveness.

The law mainly targets PC online games as well as consoles with online features. It allows a two-year grace period for smartphone and tablet PC games before reconsidering if they should be included, as online game addictions on those platforms are not considered as serious problem.

However, this law remains highly controversial with doubts remaining over its competence to prevent youngsters from becoming web addicts.

Those who oppose the law argue that having such curfew system is not reasonable in a democratic society, as it violates youngsters' rights to self-determination and the pursuit of happiness.

"Not once did the government take youngste