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Korea’s Anti-Gaming Laws

April 8, 2015

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So on our flight to Canada I recently watched an interesting documentary called Web Junkie which focused on internet addiction in China. I didn’t know this, but apparently China was the very first country to label internet addiction as a clinical disorder. Compulsive Internet Use is considered to be a mental health issue in many countries, but China was the first country to open up a rehab center for dealing with the addiction. The documentary deals with teenagers who have quit school to play online games, who have racked up bills over $8,000 in online gaming, or have even started wearing diapers to avoid going to the washroom. Most of the teenagers in the documentary were tricked into going to the rehab clinic, and some were even roofied by their parents and dragged to the clinic. I recommend checking it out if you’re interested in learning more about it or in seeing how the clinic deals with the parents involvement with their child’s issues.

Korea supposedly has a clinic for recovering internet addicts, but we haven’t seen any documentary on it, and we don’t know how it compares to what China offers, but the facility has been around since 2007, from what we’ve read, well before the Cinderella Law was put into place. What we find very interesting is how different countries label the concept of addiction. China defines an addict as “someone who uses the internet more than six hours for things that are not work or study related” but in Western counties addiction seems to be labeled as such based on behaviour and consequences of that behaviour, rather than a quantity of behaviour, you know? For example, people who choose to use the internet in such a way that it results in the loss of significant relationships, jobs, or careers would be considered addicted to the internet. Then again I’m sure there’s more subtlety to how addiction is defined in China and I’m probably just getting it wrong.

I will say one thing, though: how, err, constitutional is it for Korea to have this Cinderella Law? If this law passed in, say, the US, I can clearly imagine someone on Fox News accusing Obama of overstepping his authority and being unconstitutional. Is it within a government’s rights to tell you at what times you can play video games within your own home?

Another thing: what are the alternatives, then, that are being offered for internet addiction in teenagers? I could be wrong, but I’m thinking that overwork in school plus not a lot of alternatives would result in teenagers playing more online gaming than, say, teenagers in other countries that have other outlets. Sports aren’t big here. Part time jobs amongst teenagers are practically non-existent. What else is there to do apart from video gaming? I don’t know. Really, I don’t know, but I feel like making laws to try to curb online game playing aren’t really addressing the main issue.

Anyhow, it’s a complicated issue, and we’d love to hear what you think about it, and how your country views and/or handles the problem, or if we’re totally off on what we think about the matter. I’m just glad that my 3DS isn’t blocked for online play, because I play a lot of Smash online, though I probably shouldn’t, because I keep on getting paired up with Japanese players, and also I keep on getting destroyed. So maybe I should be banned from gaming online so I can retain some dignity…

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Korea’s Anti-Gaming Laws

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  1. Hey Simon & Martina!
    In your latest TLDR, you mentioned something about how becoming a KPOP star is usually frowned upon in SOKO. I don’t know if this has been answered in a previous video, but I was wondering if everyone is against their kids training in art, such as dancing/singing/modeling/acting. Like, in the U.S. where I live, it isn’t the most appropriate dream to have because there’s such a competition among artist and very few make it big time. But in kpop, there are so many groups and members, so I guess my question is: is it a dream shut down by parents and teachers because it seems like there are more chances to get picked for a company/group? I know students in SOKO schools have dance and singing talent shows, so I thought it would be accepted as a dream of many kids. But are so many kids auditioning and stuff that the chances are really low? My question is all over the place, I know, but I was wondering if you guys could address KPOP and its influences in the younger generation of SOKO kids and teens.

    3 years ago
  2. I find it really ridiculous that China actually treats “gaming/online addition” when they use Chinese and North Korean prisoners to farm gold in a ton of MMO’s. The prisoners play all day, every day. I guess is they get out of prison, they can pay for the addiction counseling. :/

    3 years ago
  3. That’s a strange thumb war chant!! In England it’s “1, 2, 4, 4 I declare a thumb war. 5, 6, 7, 8 try to keep your thumb straight.”

    I still find it hilarious and WHOA!, how seriously online gaming is taken in South Korea!

    3 years ago
    • I’m so mind-blown by your British thumb war chant. I never knew the 5-8 part. WHOA!

      3 years ago
      • I learnt the 5-8 part as “Who do you appreciate?” I always assumed it was referring to who the bystanders want to win.

        3 years ago
  4. I have a friend who was pretty addicted to online gaming until.. probably the end of 12th grade when he realized that the rest of us in our group of friends were going to good universities while he was going to the local college. He isn’t addicted now, but he needs gaming as an outlet from his mom. His mother is insane and has the overachieving/overbearing Asian parent problemx10. It was like pulling teeth just to get him out of his place to hang out with us.

    I’ve heard of the gaming rehabilitation centres in China and that it uses military style discipline. However, I think parents still have to pay for the treatment… I’m not sure though… But, I have heard that there are a lot that spring up and are unregulated in that they don’t have legit documentation to opperate or they use horrible treatments to change the people.

    3 years ago
  5. Korea’s constitution is a joke, to be honest. Even though our laws are established upon it, the government is mainly focused on “whatever works” over “what is right and good”. In other words, there is no clear ideological grounding upon which the government acts so there’s been some ridiculous proposals that sought to amend problems short-term through law. I do remember one proposal being something about taxing married couples without any babies (it was outright rejected, of course).
    We’re not an ideologically strong country. The sad part is that we aren’t exactly concerned about that. The current president is governing like a typical Korean mother would her child (she initiated the porn-blocking law and the Cinderella law) when it comes to social issues. Now the imagery isn’t the problem but the way she goes about doing so is naive at best.

    In terms of game addiction in other countries, Philippines has some issue with an online game called DotA. It’s a tad bit more serious than simple addiction; in some regions, it’s a source of black marketing, gambling, fighting, murder, et al. One article concerning this topic: http://www.gosugamers.net/dota2/news/29648-district-in-philippines-bans-dota-from-all-lan-cafes

    3 years ago
  6. I’m a little confused so I have a question for Simon: do you also have to log in with a social security number or are you allowed to play online games without it? If so, how do they verify your age?

    3 years ago
  7. XIV is an amazing game worthy of the Final Fantasy title, I hope you get to play it some day Simon :)
    There has been quite a bit of research exploring both positive and negative aspects of online games. Final Fantasy XIV is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game and, unlike League of Legend style online games, it is slower paced and has a persistent story line. The opportunity to share an incredible story line with others is one of the biggest draws to playing FFXIV. I personally enjoy looking at MMORPGs as a massive adult (kids are welcome, too!) playground where one can relax and have fun. We can be ‘kids’ again and make-believe.

    The Daedalus Project was an early look at both positive and negative aspects of online gaming and is a great read even though it is no longer ongoing: http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/gateway_intro.html

    3 years ago
    • Grats on your Postmoogle Cap, sorry about your friends tho.

      3 years ago
  8. I’ve been a Professional Gamer for over 12 years in over 7 games (and I retired about a year ago). I’ve saved up over $175K over 10 years, represented Meet Your Makers, Evil Geniuses, and Fnatic, and now consult Razer and Steelseries on peripheral design. I moved to Busan to play StarCraft: Brood War when I turned 16. Unfortunately, this law is correct and a “curfew” was put in place to combat the addictive nature of the games or the life surrounding them, even in certain PC Bongs.

    I was able to play after midnight since I wasn’t a “korean citizen” and was “exempt” as a result. If you do violate the law and are caught, I believe you get a “3 strike” warning until probation or jail time kicks in.

    Martina, lovely lipstick :)

    Simon, You gon’ get this work in MvC2.

    If anyone is interested in the experience of a gamer before it was cool, when Twitch.tv was Justin.tv, Online streaming, or from several different games, let me know.

    3 years ago
    • Also, it was nearly impossible to get any sort of spotlight or leverage being a “non-korean” who was essentially beating a country and it’s most famed game.

      3 years ago
  9. Yes, in the US, it would be unconstitutional. Even if it passed into law, any Joe-Blow who could prove some kind of harm, financial or otherwise, could challenge the law as a First Amendment violation of free speech. It could easily be analogized to a ban on the use of phones after dark. Such a bill probably wouldn’t even be proposed in the first place. Note, this is strictly to do with freedom of speech, not freedom of choice, which no government guarantees.

    However, internet restrictions seem like a case of the tail wagging the dog. The availability of internet access might be what entices kids to game recreationally, but it’s not what compels them to make life-destroying decisions. If they skip school, it’s because they think games are a better use of time, which could be driven by economic outlook or simply the seeming absence of individual choice during the best years of their lives. In an ideal world, the proper solution would probably look something like what you alluded to in the video – education reform. Fewer hours, reduced curriculum demands, and possibly abolish the current college entrance exam to something more like the SAT or ACT to measure critical thinking rather than measure a sheer amount of memorized knowledge. A teenager needs to demonstrate an aptitude for the college environment. A teenager does not need to know organic chemistry. Learn that shit in college, yo! (and only if you want to) But this is all merely a reflection of Korean culture. As you probably know, when my parents told me in Korean to do my homework, they were literally saying, “Go do Kung Fu,” meaning, “Go do hard work.” As an American, I learned to love the concept of, “work smarter, not harder,” but this doesn’t jibe well with the idea that hard work is itself a virtue.

    3 years ago
  10. If we had this in Canada, I think my brother would be so depressed since he’ obsessed with RPGs. I guess it can be beneficial in a way, but then it kind of takes away freedom for some people.

    3 years ago
  11. Oh hell nah. If this law as in effect in the States when I was in high school I would be in jail for life. I blame it on all the Call of Duty titles, which just kept getting better and better. The whole “leveling up” made me nuts in my freshman year. Played that thing into the early mornings. My grades DEFINITELY suffered as a result. All I could think about was running home and playing, leveling up some more.

    …then I discovered girls.

    3 years ago
  12. hey how’s it going simon and martina, we’ve actually met a few times in hongdae. i’d like to make some comments about this video, because i came to korea as a pro gamer/student and there were times where i didn’t go to class for 5 days straight and gamed about 20 hours a day, especially around tournament time. i think you’re over-estimating the effectiveness of this law, and i don’t think there were ever any actual punishments directly related to this law. i was 17 when i first came to korea. the whole idea of the law, in my opinion, is fairly dumb. basically the only thing that is enforced due to this law is that korean clients of nearly any online game, such as starcraft, dota, hearthstone, wow, etc. have to have a mechanic of reminding you how long you’ve been playing. a small message pops up every 2-3 hours stating how long you’ve been playing and that you might consider taking a break, but if you want to play on EU or US servers you don’t even need the korean client. the ID thing is a problem as well, because you do need a social security number to register for games (of someone older than 18), and foreigner registration numbers don’t actually work most of the time, which means foreigners are unable to legally register for an ID and have to borrow a korean’s, which i’ve done the entire time. if you want to avoid the message or the ID requirements, you can just play US versions of the client, but you’ll have pretty big latency. also, most parents just give their kids the ID. the reason this law is dumb is not only because it’s useless and doesn’t change anything, but also because parents should be the ones controlling their children, and some children intend on making a career out of it. there are actual gamer high schools, which unlike regular high school, they aim to produce professional gamers/commentators/broadcasters/designers/etc. one of my former teammates was actually a 16 year old in one of those schools and he practiced with us during school hours IN school, and he had to make daily reports on how the team was doing, thoughts, and new strategies. gaming is no different from any other sport; there aren’t any laws prohibiting 14 year olds from playing basketball every day, so why should such laws for gaming exist? countless studies have shown intensive gaming increases your intelligence, mental chronometry, general awareness/focus, and many other benefits which is also why the average starcraft pro has an iq well above the average. i’m pretty sure the main purpose of this law is to get the kids out of the pc cafes after dark, because it’s actually really annoying trying to focus on a game while sitting next to obnoxious 13 year olds, you wouldn’t believe how loudly the kids swear ‘shibal’ the whole time to look cool in front of their classmates. all in all, my belief is that if a kid genuinely believes he can make a living off of gaming in the future, let him be as long as he’s still going to school. same like brazillian parents wouldn’t complain about their kids playing too much football, most korean parents are fine with their children gaming and probably understand the benefits. the law half-tries to regulate something that can’t even be regulated, and just makes making an ID insanely unreasonable even if you’re a korean citizen above the age of 20. it doesn’t even help reduce trolling/trash talking, because it’s not enforced at all even though your ID is connected to a real social security number. i wish it did at least that, because koreans have a tendency to nerd-rage and talk ridiculous amounts of trash that they’d never say in real life, especially when they know they’re playing with a foreigner.

    3 years ago
  13. Oh government… Its so hard to say do you take away peoples choice or not especially if they are children.

    3 years ago
  14. I guess, on some level, these laws can be beneficial. I mean I learn japanese for skype at http://preply.com/en/japanese-by-skype and I love their games but I still agree that it should be controlled.

    3 years ago
  15. I’m not sure that the treatments shown in the film would be the most effective method for treating a gaming addiction. The basis of the camp was a lack of video games in a very controlled environment. The goal of the programme was not total abstinence from technology, but put patients in such an environment, therefore failing to provide training in self-control. The camp is merely providing a strongly negative experience caused by gaming. This type of conditioning is at least somewhat effective at reducing undesired behaviours, however it’s very localised, i.e. it will reduce only a specific behaviour pattern, and is only effective if the punishment is unavoidable, otherwise you simply get concealing behaviours. Furthermore even if the punishment is unavoidable if the root causes are not dealt with then other negative behaviours may well develop.
    The doctors often refer to online friends of the patients as ‘virtual’ friends, implying they are not real. However from the perspective of the patient, he/she knows that those people exist in real life, and furthermore is (presumably) a ‘virtual’ friend of someone else. This insinuates to the patient that in some way they are not-real or that the actions they take (providing friendship) do not matter.
    There is a psychological need for mastery of ones environment, exactly how important the need is subject to debate, and varies by culture, age, etc. but in general it is ranked between very and critically important for psychological well-being. These teenagers fulfil this need in the game environment, whilst earning the esteem of others and even of themselves. In the documentary one of the patients specifically mentions how the only thing he thinks he is good at is playing video games. From what little you hear of the patients lives before being admitted you could infer that they didn’t feel that their actions mattered, i.e. if they ceased to be the world would keep on as normal. Nothing in their lives relied on them. By playing multi-player video games they could participate in activities that would have been impossible without them.
    What the camp achieved was twofold, first that there can be negative consequences to gaming and second that their actions in the game world also didn’t matter. After 3 months replacements would have been found for all of their roles.
    The required treatment differs, I feel, from drug addiction, in that drug addiction is not about achieving mastery of your environment. The purpose of forcibly cutting someone off from drugs in rehab is to help them get over the worst of the physical symptoms of addiction, without them being able to treat it with the one drug they know will work. In the case of internet addiction, your are cutting them off from their one outlet of mastery of the environment, and putting them in the ‘real world,’ without such an outlet. They live endlessly controlled lives. Putting them in solitary is possibly the worst possible treatment option, as it is the ultimate in lack of control of your environment, nothing you do can change anything. You haven’t even a pen to mark you were there. This is most likely to reinforce the notion that the ‘real world’ cannot offer such a feeling of mastery. Prisoners placed in solitary often resort to self-harming behaviours just to achieve some level of mastery. They make somebody come and interact with them, because they did some action.
    A better option may well be to give them a task that gives them control. Have them make something that is actually useful and used. Make them do something that the environment responds to. Instead of taking away control, train them to take control of their own lives.
    Imagine, if you will, a different rehab centre, where the residents live in small flats of four or five. Where they are expected to cook and clean for each other. The patients share a flat with people at all stages of treatment, with successfully rehabilitated patients replaced with new arrivals. Access to a computer is allowed, but limited to, say, 2 hours a day, however rewards are given for using it less. Residents can earn rewards by producing useful output, but are not obligated or expected to do so. They are obligated to maintain the residence to an acceptable state, but are rewarded for going beyond that. This gives them mastery of their environment, and assuming that the rewards are considered worth having, those living what would be considered healthier lifestyles would be held in esteem by their peers. This approach also gives residents an opportunity to step up to the plate, as it were, when rehabilitated residents leave. The amount of responsibility required by each individual would obviously have to be assessed based on their abilities, as would the reward structure (although keeping the mechanism for doing so transparent would be ideal).

    3 years ago
  16. Oh Fox News, how much you amuse me. Yes, that is probably exactly what would happen. On a related note, in the South (aka that really odd region of the USA, which is not actually simply the states in the south) Cinderella Laws are actually a real thing. I know in my home state and the one I live in now, teenagers are not allowed out of their houses past 2 AM, unless they are at another home. And certain establishments are off limits to teenagers past midnight (read: clubs and bars). And there are Cinderella restrictions on driving permits and licenses, like you can only be driving from 5 AM to 9 PM.

    3 years ago
    • OH MAN! Im from the south too, i thought everyone had to do this! its so horrible because on prom night or any fun night you have to be going home, or to a church… One time we got pulled over for being our at 11 p.m. though and we told the police officer that we were going to a youth group event that night and he literally followed us there… And do your malls close off too??

      3 years ago
      • i’m from sc and i know we have blue laws which are kind of like that..on sundays most businesses are closed and you cant buy liquor or beer but lately some cities have done away with that part and allow you to buy beer on sundays, but the liquor stores are still closed lol. there’s also a curfew that was put into play a few years back that most bars close by 2am or so..

        3 years ago
  17. Hey Simon, since you talked a good bit about Final Fantasy XIV I wanted to talk about my experience trying to play FFXIV in South Korea when I studied there last year. I was actually a raid leader in the US for the game, so I tried pretty extensively to get around the inability to play the game. It turns out, in this case, the game is not blocked due to the “Cinderella Law.”

    Square Enix, the creator and publisher of FFXIV, has very specific regions for the game (Japan, North America, Europe [England, France, Germany]) and ultimately its their goal to support those regions and those regions alone as best they can. You’re allowed to play in other places (Australia, New Zelander, and Brazilian players are abundant) UNLESS you’re region is considered by Square Enix as a hot spot for in-game money traders. If you’re country falls under that category, all IP addresses from that country are blocked by Square Enix. China, most South-East Asian countries, and most unfortunately South Korea all fall under this “RMT country” listing.

    Recently I’ve heard tales of people logging in without VPNs in South Korea but I never had such luck, and it sounds like you share my experience of inaccess. I know South Korea is getting their own localized version of the game this year so if you’re cool not playing with English speakers, you can try their version of the game.

    3 years ago
  18. Do you guys have any more information about gaming in general in South Korea? For instance, transporting North American consoles and games to Korea and what to expect?

    3 years ago
    • I lived in Korea for a while as a professional. The lifestyle is more gritty (verbally, physically, mentally). I knew amateur players for StarCraft from the old KTF MagicNs, eSTRO, and Toona S.G. days that would hi-jack teammates gear in hopes they would be substituted in.

      Adderall, a drug used to help people focus and quicken their reaction, is being abused in the North American Halo scene since I was about 12. I know it hit South Korea not too long ago, but I seriously doubt the abuse is anything more than 1% of the total gaming population.

      Transporting gear, consoles, or games is not an issue. You sometimes will have to buy new wires for the console due to mishandling and temperature extremes during shipping.

      3 years ago
  19. This is my experience on trying to play League of Legends in Korea:

    Step1: Tried my native European server. I could log in, but the ping was something around 500ms, so unplayable.

    Step2: try to find Korean server in the server dialog. Doesn’t exist.

    Step3: Find out that you have to download a different executable to be able to play in Korea. Also find out that you need to have a certificate from your bank in order to create an account.

    Step4: Go to bank. Find out that you need a certificate from the immigration office to be able to get the certificate. Luckily I was going to visit the immigration office anyway.

    Step5: get the papers from immigration office, get bank access, get certificate from bank, do a lot of guessing (using, of course, the only browser supported in Korea – good ol’ Internet Exploder), finally get ingame.

    Step6: face the strange mixture of “omfg foreigner go back to your country” and “oh sweet, you’re an exchange student? How’s Korea? Wanna meet up?”

    3 years ago
    • All of the certificates here in Korea are frustrating. Don’t get me started with online banking. It’s the worst!

      3 years ago
  20. I knew a kid who was addicted to video games. When I would tell people this they would laugh, but it was a big problem. The kid’s father had fallen in and out of addiction several times with a new stimulus each time. His brother died from a drug overdose, so addiction was clearly something that ran through the family. And when I say he was addicted to games, I remember my friend was dating him (hence why I hung out with him) and I remember going over to pick him up for a movie, he would be playing a game and he would say he would be done in 10 minutes. 4 hours later we would just head back home for dinner. Almost everytime we hung out it he was playing a video game while everyone talked. He flunked college because he didn’t show up to classes, so he was trying to get a degree online, and failed at that. I don’t know all the details but I could probably say his relationship with his friend and girlfriend ended because of his gaming. He eventually got his stuff together, and he is now teaching abroad.

    3 years ago
  21. i saw this video about the internet addiction rehab in Korea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8qW4rJZ_wY

    3 years ago
  22. It’s hard to say if it would be unconstitutional to make laws against youth playing video games…. because in reality we have to ask ourselves is it actual harmful to do so. We also have Smoking/Drinking laws all around the world, but this is because it’s actually harmful to your body and many believe you need to be a certain age to realize the effects/consequences of drinking. Does addiction have anything to do with those laws? I don’t believe so (and I honestly don’t know). I think in the US it would be nearly impossible to pass a law like this because it has so much to do with an individual and personal freedom, where’s drinking/smoking is something that has undeniable effects on EVERYONE that drinks it. Age is also something that is just a factor into the big picture here because there will be addicts in every age/every walk of life.

    I can’t speak for China or Korea, but in the US this would definitely be seen as a violation of personal rights; gaming addiction, violence in video games, sedentary lifestyle (because of gaming)have all been major issues for the past 10 years or so here. Rather than taking away the rights to every child under the age of 16, gaming companies/TV companies have instead heavily advertised parental controls and left it to the family to decide what is best for the child. In my opinion, I believe this is the best option available because it caters to an individual experience rather than stereotyping, labeling, or taking away from personal freedom.

    Gaming in every form (console, pc, phone) is taking over entertainment and technology, moreover it has become part of a daily lifestyle for the majority of people. This is the same as television, smartphones, ipads, e-readers etc, and we have to realize all of these come with pros/cons. Television has lead to health problems, addictions, violence, poor grades the same way that gaming has. Should we be banning television as well? This has been a major issue for much longer than gaming has. The problem is, once again, that it is based on the individual experience. I believe the only way a law can pass with little controversy is when it becomes unethical by causing harm to others because of it. An example of this would be smartphones/texting~ Every state is different, but many of them (including mine) have created laws against texting and driving because it was causing deaths/crashes all over the country. Some have even banned talking on the phone while driving.

    Although I don’t believe in the law Korea has passed, I do think gaming addiction is a serious issue that should be addressed. Treatment centers are one thing, but social awareness and promotion needs to also be included. Schools should be talking about it, there should be advertisements about it, parents should be talking to their child if they notice they are showing signs of it, etc. One thing people don’t realize is, people don’t want to admit they have an addiction, moreover, they don’t want to feel alienated from society because of it. There needs to be more awareness so it becomes more of a “standard” addiction. This allows people to become more aware of it and heavily influences how people perceive the addiction. Does that make sense? Drug and alcohol abuse didn’t see much of an improvement until society began to acknowledge it and the need for treatment. It not only helps the individual that’s suffering, it helps others understand it and helps them to accept the person in need of treatment.

    Lastly, because of internet/technology new age communities and cultures have formed around games that many people don’t seem to understand. Many parents or people of the older generations still look down on gaming as a waste of time or that it’s taking away from “reality,” without actually considering the context or different positive influences that come from gaming. I can’t speak for everyone (or every type of game), but league of legends has changed my life. I live in a part of the US that doesn’t allow me to go out and do things for well over half the year; I live in a community of about 30,000 people, with no roads leading out of town (you can literally only get out by plane or boat), no malls, no concerts, or anything relating to community gatherings like you would find in a city area. I live in a place where unless you live for outdoor adventures, you’re stuck being a hermit for the 7 months of winter.
    Games have allowed me to have social interaction that I wouldn’t have without it and most importantly, it’s allowed me to create friendships with people all over the world. If quantity or hours had anything to do with labeling someone as an addict, I would definitely be in jail right now, lol. I don’t game for hours because I’m addicted~ I’m a gamer because I like the league community, the majority of my friends are online, and I like the gaming culture. It’s a hobby for me. I guess what I’m trying to get across is people don’t realize the vast lifestyle changes gaming has created for the world, whether it’s a hobby, a profession, a leisure activity, or an addiction~ every action has to be taken within the context of the situation and the individual. I don’t believe labeling games as a negative influence is fair at all, especially when other factors into the situation aren’t even considered.

    3 years ago
  23. In England there isn’t that much of a deal about gaming addiction, although that is probably due to the fact that not many people are addicted to gaming over here. However, maybe it’s not a big of a problem in the South West of England? But you definitely get people skiving from school to play video games all day, because they simply can’t be bothered to do the school work. This doesn’t mean that they’re addicted to gaming, just lazy.

    3 years ago
  24. We don’t have such laws here in Germany though games can get banned because of the anti-nazi laws. Basically, the Allies after WW2 implemented censorship laws on media to stop spreading propaganda, those laws are written in a way that they, by default, include new media (if I remember that correctly) which means that stuff like excessive violence against humanoids goes straight to the black list (every zombie game ever).

    The problem with those laws is that no politician can ever touch those laws. It’s literally political suicide. That politician that bought pictures of naked children probably got off easier than a politician would that tried to touch those laws simply because the majority of the population would go straight to the worst case scenario.

    Now, obviously, in a democratic country, you can’t censor media like that. So “art” is excluded from those laws. What is art? Every kind of media but video games! Like everything in Germany, everything has a legal definition and everything is forbidden until told otherwise.

    Luckily, even our rating agency is now pushing for defining games as art so maybe that’s changing soon.

    Germany has always been a big PC gaming market so online games have always been big. Everybody I know owns counter strike (most up to CSS), most of our big games are PC games (Gothic, Anno, The Settlers and FarCry 1 and 2 (3 being a console port)). So, online games were naturally also always big since there was never an issue with connectivity or additional hardware. For a while, World of Warcraft had more German servers than English EU servers. So, 80 million potential German customers had more servers than the around 400-500 million (rest of Europe minus the countries that also had their own servers plus African countries that are developed enough to have the infrastructure to play games like that) potential customers where the English servers would be their best bet.

    It’s literally impossible to get away from Germans on the internet… we always have our own servers so everybody who has the money can play regardless of education. But even on English servers you find SO MANY GERMANS!

    3 years ago
  25. I see your point about kids needing an outlet after all their hard work at school etc, and I also feel like parents should be the ones being vigilant about this, not necessarily the government. But, I was addicted to the internet for a few years myself as a teen (gaming and non-gaming), and my parents weren’t too good at setting boundaries in this matter. The addiction led me to making a lot of really bad decisions that affect me until today. I think kids just don’t have the tools to deal with some of the shit going on on the internet.
    Also – there’s something about the idea of having people log in to games using their IDs that is quite appealing to me – it forces people to take responsibility for their actions and I think it would make gaming a much safer space for women/girls. And anything that encourages girls to get into gaming is a plus for me.

    3 years ago
  26. I’m not so much into video games. Honestly, I’m not into video games at all. But this law sounds a little bit too much.
    P. S. Martina you look beautiful!!! I love your glasses and hair ^_^

    3 years ago
  27. Here in Latvia we have no such laws as far as I know. And the online gaming culture is very private. It was a big deal some 10 years ago when internet really appeared here and mostly only libraries and internet cafe’s had them but now everyone has their own PC and internet (which is really cheap and fast). Back then yeah, police used to go to the internet cafe’s to see if kids (under 16) were skipping school but they could also just stop you on the street to see if you were skipping. We have a curfew from 22-07 for under 16 year olds (depends on the regional laws though). The curfew still applies, but I don’t know anyone that still goes to an internet cafe. I know they exist still but much less than before.

    3 years ago
  28. A few weeks ago, there was a well made documentation including anti-gaming laws in Korea, as well as a look inside one of the rehabilitation centers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=of1k5AwiNxI

    3 years ago
    • Yeah, I’ve been helping VICE with some contacts to help them with their videos. Once a gamer gets a little fame, a little ad revenue or prize winning, and the cosplayers want to visit, they seem to get cocky and burn out or ignore everything else in their life to maintain said level of success.

      3 years ago
  29. i dont know if we’d see the sort of repsonse you’re expecting if they tried to do this in america, Martina. while american children have alot of social freedom compared to other countries, they dont actually have a lot of rights. while children are technically afforded the same basic rights as any american citizen under the constitution in practice it usually doesnt pan out that way. for exmaple schools in america are legally allowed to search any student at any time for absolutely no reason at all. they can search your bag, your locker, your purse. if i were to smack an adult because they did something that i felt they shouldnt have i’d be arrested, but if i did it to my kid it’s called dicipline. the right wing conservatives over at fox news play to an older demographic that is convinced video games cause violence and all manner of other social ills and believe that parents have a right to beat their children. the out cry would come from the video game industry it’self, which in the US makes more money than the music and movie undustries combined.

    3 years ago
    • :O man. I know that at any time high schools in the united states can search your locker, because that’s school property “rented” to you but actually teachers, and police officers can’t search your person, purse or bag, without a cause. I know a lot of teachers and police officers tell students that but thats not true, which is horrible because as a student you do have certain rights. So high school students! stand up to the man. lol

      3 years ago
      • i remember one time shortly after the columbine incident and all the school shootings started, right after our middle school required us to wear our ids on our necks, they almost made us have clear bookbags, but it never happened. but i do know a few schools once i got into high school in our area that did actually do the clear bookbag thing.

        3 years ago
      • true in theory, but in practice it is extremely rare that a school is asked to provide probable cause and even less likely to be asked to prove it. there are many reasons for this. when a search yeilds nothing a student will almost never be entertained if they question the reasonable grounds or probable cause that lead to the search. reasonable grounds is less stringent than probable cause and which applies will depend on where you live. the student’s parents are even less likely to question it because many many parents in america feel their children have no right to privacy at all, so unless they feel like their child was endangered in some way they usually shrug it off. if a search DOES yeild something court officials are inclined to accept whatever iffy justification the school officers give and any attempt to contradict it by the student are ignored or written off as attempt to get out of trouble. this is just one example of many that i feel highlights the general lack of children’s rights in america.

        3 years ago
    • As a younger conservative/libertarian I don’t think that parents have a right to beat their children. That statement is ridiculous.

      3 years ago
      • i specified an OLDER demographic. while a general 7 out of 10 americans feel it is acceptable to hit a child for discipline the numbers go up when you talk to older people. in 1989 one survey found that 83% of adults thought it was acceptable. now the number is down to 70% when you look at younger more liberal segments of the population the number goes down.

        3 years ago
        • ( Since I can’t reply to the other comment, wtf? This comment system is a pain in the ass. )

          The man in your scenario is not kind, and taking someone at their word for that is just plain stupid. Hitting any person at all in the mouth is wrong, regardless of age. If a child swears, you get the soap or swat their behind, and explain why using those words is wrong. If an adult swears, that’s their right entirely and you have no place to punish them for it. However, calling your spouse names ( when not in jest ) is a sign of possible abuse, and abused people can react in all kinds of ways including physical violence. In that case, it’s a reaction – but both of them need help. That is completely unrelated to a parent’s right to punish their child in an appropriate manner; it’s domestic abuse.

          Your numbers don’t mean jack shit, much like all other surveys’ supposed statistics. “83%” could mean literally 83 people out of 100. Does that reflect the true opinion of all the people in the country? Hell no. It doesn’t even do it for a single small town.

          “Older” could mean anyone. There are plenty of people over the age of 60 who play online games, watch violent movies, etc, not counting stuff on Facebook and whatnot. My parents were parents just before 1989, and they never thought that video games/movies/etc caused violence just for being violent in content themselves. The only reason that your “statistics” show a decrease in numbers is that people are now being demonized and punished for someone else’s ignorance.
          They become lax in punishment or do it privately, and don’t talk about it with anyone – which leads to more demonizing of them and less control of their children, and less willingness to speak out about it. A swift smack on the butt of their misbehaving child in public, or a slap to the hand when a child grabs a candy bar they aren’t supposed to have, or their raised voice to say they’re gonna get a spanking at home later – these things are being reported to the police ( who must follow through to see if child abuse is actually happening ) even when they are completely acceptable in general society as punishment and are clearly not abuse. It’s sickening though, because there are children who intentionally take advantage of the growing ignorance and stigma to get revenge on their parents for punishing them. Kids who get sent to their room so they call the police and say that their mom is an alcoholic who punches them, or say their dad fondled their genitals when in reality he spanked them for throwing a tantrum in public at the age of 14. Disgusting.

          3 years ago
      • Discipline via physical contact and beating are entirely different and separate things. Don’t confuse them. Physical punishment is to teach a child that they are doing something wrong and there are consequences, whereas beating a child is done out of anger ( and in some sick cases, for the adult’s pleasure ). Punishment doesn’t leave scars, cause broken bones, cuts, etc – beating does. I got spankings as a child, and I took them as what they were – consequences of doing something wrong. I would feel that sting on my butt for a couple hours at most then never repeat that again, which is exactly what a punishment is. Don’t confuse that with beating, which is meant purely to cause lasting pain and not used as a tool for parenting.

        3 years ago
        • my point is the fact that even the mildest forms of physical discipline would be illegal if you did them to an adult. if an otherwise kind man claimed he smacked his wife in the mouth because she called him an a-hole we’d all immediately agree that while name calling isnt nice the man in the scenario is not only horrible, but in violation of the law. if an otherwise kind parent tells us he/she smacked his/her child in the mouth because the child call the parent an a-hole the response is much different. not only are we likely to get a few chuckles, a majority of people (see survey stats above) would agree with the action and what’s more that parent would not be in violation of the law. if a law like the Cinderella law were to be propsed in america i doubt that people would be jumping up to defend the constitutional rights of children, because many parents dont want their children to have enforcable rights, for fear it would impenge on their own rights as parents. the law would still be unlikely to pass but it would be because corprate interested would lobby against the bill.

          3 years ago
  30. I think there’s a lot of proof of gaming addiction in the US (and many other countrieds) when it comes to “Freemium” games. Companies like King (Candy Crush) and Rovio (Angry Birds) make bank on people who feel like they *have* to pay to play/advance. As someone who plays these games and have NEVER spent a cent on them, I don’t get the appeal of actually paying to get ahead or continue. But those who are addicted enough just do it to get pass a level or to beat their friends in some imaginary race. And then these games coax you into buying credits by giving you extras for free. You know who else does that? Drug dealers… It irks me because I’m fairly certain one or two of my relatives have this problem, and it’s like… I can’t tell them to stop because they’re grown and “can do whatever they want.” But the spending really REALLY piles up when that $5 here and there occurs five or six times A DAY. -_-
    It kind of makes me wish there was a bar or something to just cut off a person from a game (or their bank account) after spending so much in a day/week.

    3 years ago
  31. I’ve been in a relationship for over 2 years with a Korean guy and his brother is actually a professional videogame player :O you cannot imagine the shock when I discovered it ahah!

    3 years ago
  32. I used to game a lot but never really saw it as an addiction. It was just a fun way to pass the time and I never let my work or social connections suffer because of my gaming. It just was a thing to do with people I knew online when we were bored.
    Lately I’ve been watching more tv shows and watching lets plays online and haven’t been playing as much, also because there haven’t been any online games anymore that really got me into them like Left 4 Dead or Battlefield 1942. But I do like to game from time to time.

    We don’t have any gaming laws, but we do have a couple of programs for gaming addiction. One of them, a number of years ago, only saw some games as exploiting the weakness but usually saw the addiction as a symptom of bigger problems either at school or at home or both.

    3 years ago
  33. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that teenagers can’t be punished for stealing their parents’ IDs (in Korea)– unless their parents want to sue them or something, which is very unlikely. Those stolen IDs being sold on the internet are a different matter entirely, and I’m sure that if caught, they will have to pay a hefty fine.

    Also, I have to admit that I was once an online gaming addict. And it was exactly in that age bracket- I think I was 13 when I started, and for nearly two years I spent HOURS every single day playing and blowing my pocket money on this game… But even if this law had existed in Korea at the time, it wouldn’t have stopped me, since I usually played in the afternoons/evenings (no hagwon for me!).

    I remember when this law was created in Korea, but I don’t remember hearing any actual complaints about it being unconstitutional or anything– I think it’s mostly that Korean teenagers aren’t viewed as free individuals but as students whose sole purpose is to study hard and get good grades. This law is probably more of an attempt to assuage the hordes of concerned parents complaining to all the large online gaming companies. ‘How dare you allow my child access to your useless activity 24 hours a day, it’s all your fault they’re not studying’ and such.

    Let them play, I say!

    3 years ago
  34. I don’t play video games very often, but when I get a new game once or twice a year I will often play it until I finish or need to sleep/eat/work/meet friends. There’s definitely a certain serenity to playing a video game over night when all of your roommates are asleep.

    I live in California, where gaming is pretty big, evident by the fact that we have more video game companies than any other state, and you can definitely make a career out of playing video games in multiple ways. I have a friend whose career shooting and editing videos of Starcraft and other competitive online games, and have met several people who have gotten jobs at video game companies as game testers.

    Addiction laws vary from state to state, but in the state of California gaming is recognized as an addiction similar to drug, food, gambling, or sex addiction. I know there is a treatment center specifically for gaming addictions in San Diego. I don’t know of any in LA, where I live, but I can’t imagine most rehab centers here turning someone with a gaming addiction down.

    I don’t know about Korea (or Canada), but in the US we have truancy laws, which make it illegal to skip school. Our truancy laws are flawed, for sure, but it sounds like a more effective way of keeping students in school than prohibiting gaming hours/minors from gaming.

    I also have a really fun story about laws banning gaming in the US that I think you would like:
    I live in California now, but I grew up in Florida. In Florida (and a lot of the US really), online gambling is a big problem. In order to try to stop people from losing massive amounts of money from online gambling, in 2013 the Florida state government passed a law banning all electronic slot machines and internet cafes used specifically for things like online poker, blackjack, roulette, etc. However, because the bill was so poorly worded, it ended up banning all computers, smartphones, or internet connected devices, since technically someone could use any device connected to the internet to access a site with online gambling. Furthermore, because it was difficult to prove if an internet cafe was actually a front for illegal online gambling, many legit internet cafes that were used by lower income Floridians for work, communication, and wholesome leisure were shut down as well. After these loopholes and problems were exposed, the bill was heavily amended and most of the internet cafes were reopened (the Florida police were never daring enough to go after people’s personal electronics). I haven’t heard of them trying to pass any similar bills since.
    But it goes to show that whether you’re in Seoul or Miami, passing legislation that prohibits access to online leisure activities for the good of the population is really fraught and difficult to legislate/enforce.

    3 years ago
  35. Vice did a really interesting and in depth series of videos on this topic on youtube. It talks about gaming culture in Korea to addiction and laws in place like the Cinderella law that you mentioned and yes Korea does have a clinic for recovering internet addicts. I saw videos and I really question if such methods work for recovering internet addicts as they use techniques like shock therapy. If you want to see the series of videos they are here:
    Part 1(Gaming Prodigies): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UksbnbWjbPs
    Part 2 (Internet Rehab Clinics): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8qW4rJZ_wY
    Part 3 (Gaming Celebrities): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8qyLIN_XGQ
    Part 4 (Dark side of non-stop gaming): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=105cdUq98wo
    Part 5 (eSport – Million dollar game): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDbM_gYAEb0

    3 years ago
  36. This is a very interesting topic for me, since I am currently in Shanghai.

    Personally, I can see China getting out very early about this, because here, and even more than Korea in one aspect, children and their education is important. It becomes a bigger issue, since the Chinese child is an only child, also known as “Dragon prince or princess for being very spoiled in the end”. These children, since China has no retirement funds, are your pension, and if your only child, who is one day meant to support not just you, but you husband/wife and potentially your husbands parents and your parents, flunks out for gaming or other things, yeah… that is a huge issue.

    I’m an international student here, and thankfully they don’t even think we will ever work as hard as a Chinese student does (I’ve seen how crazy they live it during midterm exams and final exams), about we still are expected to study really, REALLY hard, which to a European like me (who can be labelled lazy in comparison) is insane!

    We’ve even, in one of my lessons, been told of to play with our phones, which we don’t. Most use dictionaries on them. But really, the internet is kind of work or shopping related here to my experience.

    As a gamer (though mainly not online, I prefer console games), nothing has been restricted for me yet. Though, youtube and facebook are blocked (but for other reasons than gaming). I use an VPN to see your videos because well… I’m a waiguoren (foreigner), I already know about all those “forbidden” stuff.

    Phew… anyway… originally I posted this to ask if anyone from Denmark can answer me a question I’ve been wondering regarding their laws (since this was mentioned in the video. Is it really true that if a Swede crosses the frozen sea over to Denmark that you guys are allowed to hit/harm/shoot us (I’ve heard different versions of this)? I know we once marched accross the sea to fight you, but haven’t such a law been voted away yet?

    3 years ago
    • omg! I remember the days when I had to use proxy to watch eyk videos too! I was also studying at Shanghai at the time :)

      3 years ago
  37. I’m addicted to my computer. I’ve thinking about naming her.. Suggestions? lol

    I’ve seen that documentary! Watching the kids go through the boot-camp was intense. I don’t know much about the laws involved in gaming since I’m not much of a gamer anymore. I would have to think about the Constitutional aspect of it, 3:30 am isn’t really conducive to clear thoughts. Doesn’t very seem very Constitutional but, hey if enough fat cats, right-winged politicians, and money is thrown about, it might come to pass. But, then again, the FCC’s decision to label the internet as a utility and thus must be regulated was bemoaned by some, you know, government this, that… well, the aforementioned assbutts were against that. So, eh. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it would depend on who backed it and how visible the law is.

    Did I mention I’m American? lmao Must sleep. ::wave::

    3 years ago
  38. Lol, the sports thing is seriously not big here! That might have been one of my largest culture shocks coming here. As a Dutch kid, we learn swimming, cycling and skating normally before the age of 7/8 then there are the other sports. My favorite was gymnastics, I ended up in the competetive section and trained around 6 hours from 8 years old. Besides that during high school I tried out some other sports (The Netherlands (used to?) have great programs for that) including archery, diving (from diving boards etc.), aikido, horse riding and karate. I also played an instrument and loved reading books in whatever time I had left. When I got around 11-12 years old I also started to seriously help out with the gymnastics training of the younger kids for around 7 hours a week ^^ good times :D .
    At 16 i got a job, and then at 17 I got a second job (or third, if you consider the training a job- I didn’t get paid much for it).

    Anyway, I never had time to play online games and even if I had, my parents did not allow them. Instead I might have gotten a little too much into movies. I started to count salary into the number of DVD’s I could buy (10% of the salary was allowed, unless a reeeaaaaly good one came out of course ^^ )

    As far as I know there are no gaming laws in the Netherlands and I don’t think they are really needed. Then again, I would be the last to know considering my lack of interest in the field :)

    Cheers

    3 years ago
  39. Guilty! I play a lot of games, mostly League, but I also have a few games on steam. In Norway we don’t have any laws, but most of the people on my class and possibly around the school is highly interested and I often hear them talk about CSgo or LoL. There are actually Lans and such in holidays where a lot of people meet to play games for days together. One of the most known ones in Norway I think have to be The Gathering or for short TG that was recently held at the viking ship in hamar through the easter holiday.
    Either way I love to play games and in league you team up so it becomes natural to play with your friends while talking on skype with each other and have fun while gaming aaaand the best is that I don’t have to go outside o/

    3 years ago
  40. I have a ps3 too and like to play on my own. My 3 year old toddler loves to watch me play GTA V… not the violent parts, but just cruising on a bike or flying on an airplane…

    3 years ago