Korea bans after-hours online gaming

In a country where nearly 40% of male students are reportedly addicted to video games, South Korea is trying to curb the growing problem by cutting off access to online games after midnight.

According to the Korea Herald, the country’s Ministry of Culture, Sports, announced the policy today. It will require users of primary and secondary school age to choose an option of Midnight – 6 AM, 1 AM – 7 AM, or 2 AM to 8 AM where the country’s online networks will automatically shut them out of a handful of online games.

Games like Maple Story and Dragon Nest, along with 17 other online role-playing games, will be part of the ban. Those 19 games account for 79% of South Korea’s online game market.

South Korea is one of the most problematic countries when it comes to game addiction. The Huffington Post reports that a recent survey showed that around 30% of public school students showed signs of addiction, including 40% of male students.

The country has come under fire from advocacy groups for stories like this one last month, where parents in South Korea left their infant child unattended because they were so wrapped up in an online game. The three-month-old child passed away because of the parents’ neglect.

The ban will go into effect shortly. Other countries battling game addiction, like China, will surely be keeping an eye on how this policy plays out.