South Korea Considering a Video Game Addiction Law

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

Video game addiction is a topic that is becoming more and more talked about. People all over the world are experiencing the effects of gaming and technology addiction, but for individuals in certain Asian countries, gaming addiction is more common. In fact, South Korea takes gaming so seriously that legislators of the Democratic Party of Korea are considering a game addiction law that would regulate video games as addictive substances, similar to alcohol or drugs. 

They recently conducted a debate that allowed people to voice their opinion on the issue and many expressed concern that the law would backfire. Others said that allowing the government to intercept their gaming efforts means that their freedom of speech is being suppressed. Others also said that home dynamics, parental influence, and mental health are all leading factors to gaming addiction and that it isn’t the games themselves.  People that were involved in the debate also indicated that many students in Asian countries don’t have a lot of free time to game, so when they get the chance, they use gaming as an avenue of escape from the stress and demands of education. (1)


Even so, gaming is capturing the young minds of people all over the world. Implementing legal restrictions could be beneficial for youth and young adults that are struggling to control their compulsive gaming. It could be especially helpful for children that are struggling at home or in school because of their obsession with technology and their next opportunity to play their favorite game. 


Critics of the law believe that parents should play a bigger role in the lives of their children and if this is the case, gaming addiction would not be such of a problem.  This is very true: parent involvement is very important for children. It doesn’t matter if they are 2 or 15, having a strong positive parental presences makes a huge difference when it comes to encouraging your children to avoid addiction.  In addition, when it comes to gaming, television, or movies, setting solid boundaries for your children at a young age is key. Video game use in and of itself isn’t bad – it’s the overuse and abuse of them that is causing families and individuals to suffer.


Finally, there is no doubt that mental illness and social factors play important roles in addictions; however, people only abuse behaviors and substances that are psychologically and physiologically rewarding. Thus, if video games stimulate the mind and body into an aroused state, then there is potential for abuse and addiction. 


Fingas, Jon. “South Korea debates the wisdom of a video game addiction law.” June 23, 2014. Accessed June 28, 2014.