MoonHwaYunDae(http://www.culturalaction.org/)(MHYD) has filed a constitutionla appeal against the Shutdown system to the Constitutional Court last October 28. The applicants of the constitutional appeal are a group of students under age 16 and their parents.
MHYD asserts that the Shutdown system has violated the right to pursue happiness, the right to education, and the right to equality.
According to the constitution, everyone has right to pursue happiness including freedom in action and freedom in individual achievement. In other words, playing games should also belong to the right to pursue happiness. So the Shutdown system would eventually violate the right to pursue happiness by playing games.
Children under age 16 who are talented in gaming have right to manifest themselves through playing the game. Situation of today’s game industry lends weight to the assertion.
Since the game industry has grown so much rapidly nowadays there are many teenagers who want to be pro-gamers. Therefore the game should be considered not just an entertainment but a means to achieve one’s goal. So limiting time to play the game equals limiting one’s freedom to achieve their goal.
Here are three logical bases against the Shutdown system from MHYD.
1. The game is the only activity except smoking and drinking achole restricted by law without a reasonable ground. To be reasonable, the government should prove that playing the game is much more harmful than watching TV and movie, listening to the music, and doing other indoor activities. But obviously there is none.
2. The console and mobile games are still available. The Shutdonw system only applies to the internet game and the government defines the internet game all the games provided via network in real time. So children can still play other games after midnight after the launch of the Shutdown system. So the government thinks the console games are not addictive at all?
3. The law restricts the freedom to achieve personal goal. Those who want to fulfill their goal in study, art, sports, or whatever do not get restricted in terms of time no matter what but those who want to succeed by become a pro-gamer would not be allowed to train themselves from midnight to 6 a.m. by law because the game is an axis of evil! Then the pro-gamer is an evil job?!
Actually there had been a similar precendent in 1999. The Constitutional Court had judged that billiard hall is allowed for teenagers under age 18 because those who are talented in billiard have right to equality to practice as much as other sports prospects would do. In Korea, the billiard then was regarded as an adult sports.
MHYD also criticized that the government has made the law without thinking why the teens play the game at midnight or get addicted to the game.
According to the youth law, the internet game addiction means getting damaged in physical, mental, or social function that cannot be recovered easily in daily life by playing the game too much.
However it does not define whether the ‘playing too much’ means playing for a long time or playing at late night. The internet game addiction is the matter of how long, not when.
Fortunately the Selective Shutdown system will be kicked off next January as an alternative. According to the law, legal representatives or oneself must request the game publisher to shutdown the game personally.