South Korea to End Late-Night Gaming Curfew for Younger Players

At a PC bang, every gamer is stationed at their own monitor and pays hourly to play.
At a PC bang, every gamer is stationed at their own monitor and pays hourly to play. / Tom Jenkins/Getty Images

South Korea is ending its 10-year shutdown law that banned those under the age of 16 from gaming between midnight and 6 a.m., the country's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Ministry of Gender Equality and Family announced Wednesday according to The Korea Herald.

In November 2011, the curfew was initially put into effect with the Youth Protection Revision Act by the South Korean National Assembly, seemingly in hopes of protecting children and teens from online PC gaming addiction and encouraging them to get at least six hours of sleep.

Under the law, PC gaming companies could be fined up to 10 million won (roughly $8,500) or faced with up to two days jail time if they were found guilty of offering game services to underage users during curfew hours.

As reported by Kotaku at the time, the law indirectly carried over to console gaming as well as both Sony and Microsoft restricted underage Korean players from their gaming platform networks during curfew hours.

Both in China and South Korea, the whole ordeal has been said to not be as cut and dry, however, as youths bypassed the national ID number systems by using methods such as ID generators. Others apparently found ways connect to overseas servers to play games.

Ultimately, the new decision was made with a more relaxed, optimistic view "out of respect for the rights of youths and encourage education at home."

For youths, games are an important leisure activity and communication channel. I hope that the preventive measures can respect the rights of the youths and encourage healthy home education

Hwang Hee, Ministry of Culture, Sport...

By the year's end, when a revision of the Youth Protection Act is sought to be passed by the South Korean National Assembly, the reassessed administrative approach will reportedly focus on educational reform on excessive gaming, as well as take into account the more recent advent of mobile games, web comics, influencer media, streaming media and social media by expanding the country's media literacy outreach programs.