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South Korea May Regulate Video Games Like Drugs

New legislation could control the manufacture, distribution and sale of addictive online games.

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By Victoria Kim

05/01/13

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South Korea introduced new legislation this week proposing that video games need to be strictly regulated, like drugs and alcohol, in order to promote a "happy and healthy society." Rep. Shin Eui-jin, a member of the conservative Saenuri Party and former medical professor, introduced the bill, backed by fourteen other representatives, which would authorize the government to regulate online gaming, drugs, alcohol, and gambling, by controlling their manufacturing, distribution, and sale. The bill has yet to be voted on in the National Assembly, but is already causing a stir in the country's gaming industry. "It is regretful that the government views games in the same category as drugs and gambling," a member of the gaming industry told Inews24. "[This administration is] talking about a creative economy and yet are constantly trying to regulate one of leading industry for content business." Gaming addiction is a growing problem in South Korea. The government spends about $10 million per year to fund internet and gaming addiction treatment centers, in addition to "prevention programs" such as imposing a national online gaming curfew for people below age sixteen. According to the DSM-5, video gaming is not classified as an addiction, but continues to seriously affect the lives of those who become addicted.

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