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South Korea to end its controversial gaming curfew

·Senior Editor
·2-min read
In a photo taken on July 13, 2018, a customer eats noodles as he plays computer games at an eSports cafe, or "PC Bang", in Seoul. - South Korea enjoys ultra-fast broadband and a vibrant Internet culture, and internet cafes armed with powerful high-end computers catering to school-age gamers can be found on many street corners. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) / TO GO WITH SKorea-eSports, FOCUS by JUNG Hawon (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)

Gamers under 16 in South Korea have a reason to celebrate today: The country plans to end its shutdown law (AKA the Cinderella Law), which prevented underage players from gaming between midnight and 6AM, the Korea Herald reports. When it was introduced in 2011, the law was meant to prevent gaming addiction. At the very least, it gave kids a six-hour block to get some sleep. 

South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, as well as the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, say that they're ending the law to respect children's rights and encourage at-home education. The country aims to abolish the law by the end of the year when it revises its Youth Protection Act.

The news doesn't mean underage gamers are entirely off the hook, though. Instead, excessive gaming will be managed by the country's "choice permit" system, which lets parents and guardians arrange approved play times. Still, that sounds more permissive than China's gaming curfew, which bans players under 18 from playing between 10PM and 8AM. Additionally, they're limited to 90 minutes of game time during weekdays, and three hours on weekends and holidays.

As Kotaku reports, the shutdown law was originally meant to curb PC gaming, but it also affected consoles. Sony's PlayStation Network and Microsoft's Xbox Live ended up restricting their accounts to adults. That's why Minecraft is now an R-rated game in the country.

"In the changing media environment, the ability of children to decide for themselves and protect themselves has become important more than anything,” Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae said, according to The Korea Times. “We will work with related ministries to systematically support media and game-use education at schools, homes, and in society so that young people can develop these abilities, and continue to make efforts to create a sound gaming environment and various leisure activities for children.”

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