Video games for adults end up in kids’ handsKim Sun-kyung, 42, was shocked last month when she walked in on her third-grade son playing a video game in which a female character was pole-dancing in a strip club. When Kim asked her son how he had acquired the game, he answered that he had purchased it with gift cards he received from his uncle.
The game in question was “Grand Theft Auto 5,” an immense hit with more than 50 million copies sold worldwide.
Gamers worldwide consider it a masterpiece for its impressively realistic graphics, but due to its mature and violent content, the Game Rating and Administration Committee under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has rated the game +18, deeming the game unfit for those under the age of 18.
What Kim found problematic was the “ease with which elementary school students can purchase these sorts of adult games.”
“These games should at least have age restrictions or require adult approval prior to purchase,” she said.
Her son had apparently purchased the game from an online game vendor, most of which have cropped up in just the last six to seven years and don’t require visitors to verify their age to make purchases. As a result, they are frequently misused and age restrictions circumvented.
Such websites are plentiful and face few regulations.
“It is against the law to sell games that have not been reviewed and to sell games with age restrictions to those underage,” emphasized Hwang Je-hoon, a member of the Game Rating and Administration Committee, adding that, “There are limitations in regulating the illegal activities of these sites.”
The game’s protagonist spends his money on strippers and drugs, sometimes killing people under the influence. For some of the game’s missions, he kidnaps vulnerable people such as female tourists and drunken couples and then sells them to human traffickers.
“Stringently regulating games does not fit the worldwide trend,” the National Assembly’s Education, Culture, Sports and Tourism Committee stated.
It added that “in order to at least enforce age restrictions, we are discussing amendments to the law that would mandate that these online game vendors institute age confirmation systems.”
BY SOHN GUHK-HEE, BAEK MIN-KYUNG [firstname.lastname@example.org]