Teens spend up to 88 hours a week gaming in Korea

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

In recent years, Korean government has become aware and started cracking down on digital addiction, especially video games. Government data via Reuters suggests that about 1 in 10 Korean kids ages 10-19 are addicted to the Internet, but a new VICE report shows that the number could be as high as 50%. VICE reporter Matt Shea traveled to South Korea and investigated the world of online sports and found that many teenagers are addicted to games like Starcraft or League of Legends. Recently, a teenage boy admitted in an interview that he spends his life in front of his computer and has no career plan. He spends about 88 hours a week gaming.

Four years ago, South Korean government enacted the “Shutdown Law” which prevents kids under age 16 from opening games online between midnight and 6 a.m. Shea also spoke with Dr. Lee, a neuropsychiatrist at Gangnam Eulji Hospital and learned that online gaming accounts for roughly 90% of addiction cases in South Korea. Dr. Lee says, "The notion of addiction treatment has changed," Dr. Lee said. "For example, the goal of treating someone with a drug addiction problem would be for the person to stop taking drugs completely. But for internet addiction treatment, it's not about avoiding using the internet as a whole. It's more about a patient being able to control their use of the internet like a normal person. That is when we can say that they are cured."

Korea’s digital addiction epidemic has literally swept the country and is transforming lives in a harmful and negative way. There is devastation that is occurring in young people’s lives because of their inability to properly use the Internet and games. For many of these young people, they are complete addicts, with technology acting as a drug. Do you or someone you know struggle with digital addiction? If so, seek help immediately. 

(1) Robinson, Melia. “Korea’s internet addiction crisis is getting worse, as teens spend up to 88 hours a week gaming.” Business Insider. March 25, 2015. http://www.businessinsider.com/south-korea-online-gaming-addiction-rehab-centers-2015-3