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The endless midnight gaming sessions of South Korea’s children are set to be curbed by stringent new laws. If children are 15 years or younger, they will no longer be able to log into the PlayStation Network from midnight to 6am.The sweetly-named “Cinderella Law” has been put into effect from now by the government’s Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism (MCST) and Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (MGEF). Xbox Live, Microsoft’s online service has been given a grace period of two months to comply with the law.
Online providers have been tasked to create rules which track user age and block underage children from logging in during early hours for gaming sessions. If this does not work, the rules may block all users, regardless of age, from playing online from midnight to 6am.
Critics have crawled out of the woodwork to argue against the Cinderella Law. Complaints include violation of children’s civil rights and that there are no concrete facts to prove that online gaming is more dangerous than watching TV, listening to music or any number of indoor recreation options.
The Korean Game Industry Association is preparing a lawsuit to oppose the curfew laws. KAOGI comprises 14 game publishers such as NCsoft and Nexon. The companies say that the Cinderella Law is “excessively prohibitive”.
KAOGI are not the only organisation to file an appeal against the Cinderella law. Cultural solidarity organization MoonHwaYunDae (MHYD) attempted to quash the law but despite a valiant effort, the policy was instigated without issue.
Circumvention of the Cinderella Law is rife. Some have taken to registering with their parents account, and harvesting their social security numbers for proof of age. Others now exclusively log into Western game servers.
MCST and MGEF are now seeking out the technology to add account certification systems into the online gaming logins. The certification systems would grab personal data, credit card details and the social security number in an effort to combat identity fraud.