A bill that seeks to classify gaming as addictive behaviour like gambling and drugs is being considered in the South Korean parliament, supported by doctors, parents and religious groups, reports The Guardian. The legislation would limit advertising and a second bill would take 1 percent of the industry’s revenue and spend it on curbing addiction.
Game companies say it is a turn in their lives, naming such ban a death sentence for their industry. Korea Internet and Digital Entertainment Association, which represents game companies announced in a statement: “The 100,000 people employed in the game industry are not drug makers.”
The government started paying attention to gaming problems back in 2011. According to their research, two per cent of South Koreans aged 10-19, required special treatment for excessive use of online gaming and addiction.
“My parents tried to stop me but I kept playing. Even the government wouldn’t have stopped me,” said Shin Minchul, a 21-year-old college gamer. Shin Minchul stated that he used to meet with his friends in Internet café and play games for 3-4 hours per day after the classes. He was dreaming about the professional gamer career since he was in high school where he used to play World of Warcraft for 15 hours straight.
Eventually Shin got over it, now he says: “When I tried to think more broadly about my life, playing games wasn’t that important. Then I lost interest.”
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development analyzed the level of happiness of kids at schools and South Korea was the last on the list out of 65 countries that took part in the survey.