South Korea abolishes night-time gaming ban for children

South Korea will drop its long time law, which banned night-time gaming by youths, which critics say failed to address gaming addiction. — dpa

Underage fans of online games in South Korea are rejoicing at news that the controversial night-time gaming ban for young people is to be dropped from January onwards.

The so-called shutdown regulation, introduced 10 years ago to prevent gambling addiction among children, is to be revoked following a parliamentary amendment to the Youth Protection Act, South Korean public broadcaster KBS reported on Friday.

The lifting of the ban had been planned for some time, as doubts over the effectiveness of the regulation were increasingly being raised.

At one point the ban effectively turned "Minecraft", a widely popular and creative game among children aged 7 and up, into an R-rated title only available to adults.

South Korea, like most other countries, has seen a massive rise in the popularity of mobile games and other media that young people can access at night in recent years.

Critics of the regulation also argued that it would demonise gaming culture without fundamentally combating gaming addiction.

The ban targeted young people under the age of 16, who were not allowed to play online games on the computer between midnight and six in the morning, while threatening games companies with hefty fines.

Despite the abolition of the ban, the gambling habits of young people are now set to be further controlled in South Korea.

Through a so-called "choice permit" system, parents and children can determine for themselves how long they are allowed to play. The permit is to be issued by the Foundation for Gaming Culture, which is affiliated to the Culture Ministry. — dpa

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