The Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology(MEST) is reportedly reviewing a policy that forcibly bans young students’ online game accounts played either for two hours consecutively or for more than three hours a day.
The MEST believes the game addiction derives from not specific playing period but amount of playing time. Therefore it insists a certain restriction according to each age besides the time restriction-the Shutdown Systems-is needed.
The policy is being developed on the premise that the game addiction caused a suicide accident happened in Daegu last year. So the MEST deeply understands the games are harmful.
Some questioned equity and effectiveness of the policy because its targets are basically the PC online games that can be shut down easily.
“We had not concatenated the game to the education policy because we had considered it as one of leisure activities for the students. But we now believe that the game addiction impacts on the school life significantly,” said an official from the MEST.
But the industry’s view is different. They see this situation as that the government is actually making the games a scapegoat for its failure of the education system. Moreover there are concerns that violation of policy has been made as recent game related laws came not from the charged ministry, the MCST(Minstry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism), but from other ministries, the MEST and the MGEF(Ministry of Gender Equality and Family).
The Game Industry “It’s a Triple Regulation.”
According to the game industry, the MEST’s policy is backed up by a theory that playing a game for a long time affects negatively both body and brain. However the basis is just a hypothesis that has not been even approved medically.
Especially, they are criticizing that the policy is a typical bureaucratic administration following the forcible shutdown system of the MGEF and the selective shutdown system of the MCST.
If the third restriction takes effect, total three powerful laws will help helpless parents stopping their born-to-study children from playing the online games over night or for more than two hours a day.
“If the game industry is really a trouble maker, then the related governments should discuss and provide a guideline to instruct us. Making similar policies from three different ministries does not make any sense at all. The two shutdown systems of the MGEF and the MCST should be repealed if the MEST’s regulation is reasonable,” said an industry official.
Meanwhile, the MEST has announced that it will reduce the amount of curriculum for elementary, middle, and high school students by 20% by 2014, scaling down Morality course which is essential for personality education for students.