South Korea to end its controversial gaming curfew after nearly a decade


Recap: South Korea is putting an end to the controversial online gaming curfew it enacted nearly a decade ago. The Youth Protection Revision Act, commonly referred to as the Cinderella Law or the Shutdown Law, made it illegal for video game providers to provide Internet-based games to children under the age of 16 between the hours 12 a.m. and 6 a.m.

The Korea Herald reports that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family recently announced their decision to change the law out of respect for youths’ rights.

Unsurprisingly, the Korea Association of Game Industry (K-GAMES) praised the government for its decision. “We support and welcome the abolishment of the shutdown law,” the organization said.

(Officials from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family speak during an online press event held Wednesday in Seoul. Image credit Yonhap.)

The South Korean government passed the controversial law in May 2011, and it went into effect later that year. Beginning in September 2014, parents could request that their children be exempt from this law.

The idea was to protect the country’s youth from excessive gaming and with any luck, prevent gaming addition before it became a problem. Offenders faced steep fines and up to two years in jail, The Korea Herald noted.

In hindsight, it seems the government might have been on to something, as gaming disorder officially became recognized by the World Health Organization in 2019.

To update the law, the government will have to revise the aforementioned Youth Protection Revision Act. That isn’t expected to occur until the end of the year at the National Assembly.

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