Parents tasked with policing kids’ gaming

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Parents tasked with policing kids’ gaming

The government is handing over control of the “Cinderella Policy” to parents.

Previously, the government had banned those under the age of 16 from playing games on the Internet from midnight to 6 a.m. With the revised policy, the government will restrict access to online gaming Web sites in accordance with game playing schedules that parents determine for their children in advance.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced on Tuesday the revised policy that enables parents to control their children’s game-playing hours. The ministry said about 100 out of 600 online games, excluding adult games and games provided by small and medium corporations, will be affected by the revised policy from July 1.

Many popular games such as Aion, provided by NC Soft, World of Warcraft and StarCraft II, provided by Blizzard Entertainment, will be affected by the revised policy.

Since November, the government had cut the access to Internet games for teenagers under 16 to prevent game addiction; but, it caused controversy as many teenagers created gaming accounts under their parents’ names. People said the policy also infringed upon teenagers’ freedom of how they spent their free time.

According to the revised policy, parents will be able to decide game-playing hours for their children.

For instance, if parents want their kids to be able to play games from 5 to 6 p.m. every day, they can register the desired schedule on the Web site (www.gamecheck.org), which the Game Culture Foundation, a government agency under the Culture Ministry, has provided. Once the desired schedule is submitted, the government will restrict the access to the 100 game Web sites.

The ministry also said that parents can check what games their children are members of on the Internet. If any accounts are found to be created under their parents’ names, they can request the membership be revoked on the government Web site.

When a child wants to create a new account, no matter what the game is rated, all game service providers will be forced to send text messages and e-mails with numeric authorization codes to parents. The account registration process won’t be completed until the parents send the numeric codes back to game service providers.

All game information, including whether the game is role playing or action, its rating and billing information, will be sent to parents’ e-mails every month.

The ministry said that teachers, social workers or aunts and uncles who are designated as legal guardians for the child can make requests.

“We expect that the revised policy will prevent teenagers from game addiction more effectively,” Park Soon-tae, the director of the Culture Contents Industry division from the Culture Ministry, told the JoongAng Ilbo.”

“This is much better than the Cinderella Policy, where the government forcibly disconnected the access [to the Internet],” psychology professor Kwon Jeong-hye, from Korea University, told the JoongAng Ilbo.

“But the government should provide more programs that help teenagers manage themselves.”

By Song Ji-hye [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr ]

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