Forget Justin Bieber, in South Korea, StarCraft superstars reign supreme in the eyes of tweens. Don’t believe me? Behold:
But now the South Korean government wants to go all Susan Powter and stop the insanity. That’s right. Officials believe 125,000 of their countrymen are suffering from serious gaming addictions, so authorities are screaming for Regulations! Rehab! Revenue!
The Doctor Evil-esque plan to curb gaming in South Korea
- Step One: Declare video gaming an “antisocial addiction” on par with drugs, alcohol, and gambling.
- Step Two: Start a “just say no [insert video game]” campaign while simultaneously limiting the amount of advertising (a la Joe Camel in the U.S.).
- Step Three: Collect 1% of revenue from gaming companies; use funds to pay for a government-run, “Gaming is Gambling!” campaign.
Oh My Gosh! REALLY!?
Why do South Korean authorities think gaming is in need of taming? In 2011, a man and wife killed their baby because of a gaming addiction. The parents only fed the child once a day, and the infant died of malnutrition. Shockingly, the couple neglected their baby because they spent all day raising a virtual baby in an online game. Since the incident, people have been calling for gaming restrictions.
Parents Are The Same No Matter Time Nor Place
Ninety percent of AARP-eligible (and adjacent) South Koreans are all, “Hell Yeah!” about the proposed gaming sanctions. “We need to create a clean Korea free from the four addictions [drugs, gambling, alcohol and gaming],” opined lawmaker Hwang-yea. And weighing in for Team Mom was Kim Min-Sun, who champions gaming restrictions because, “without online games, kids would talk to their mother and play.”
“We’re Not Drug Makers, Mmmmmmk.”
The rest of the population – especially “Internet-lifers” – aren’t stoked about the crackdown. A spokesperson from the Korea Internet and Digital Entertainment Association succinctly quipped, “The 10,000 people employed in the game industry are not drug makers.”
Why Are Video Games So Popular In South Korea?
Why is video gaming so popular in South Korea? Some people point to the lack of leisure opportunities for teenagers. Other people blame the country’s insanely competitive school system, arguing video games are the best way to unwind after a grueling day at school.
South Korean Officials Love Game Regulations
This is not the first time the South Korean government has tried to regulate online gaming activity. Back in 2011, officials passed a law banning gaming between midnight and dawn for people under 16. Somewhat of a legislative bomb, the law is currently on appeal in Korea’s Constitutional Court.