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South Korea faced a terrifying addiction trend back in 2011 with the availability of online video games. There were as many as 6,000 underage gamers that had to be admitted to special facilities for internet addiction. The local government of South Korea knew they had to take a preemptive step towards protecting the youth of their country and came about the Cinderella Law.
The Cinderella Law
The Korean government enacted the Shutdown Law or Cinderella Law in 2011 as answer to the worrying trend. The law prohibited players under the age of 16 from accessing any online games between midnight and 6:00AM. The ban does not affect mobile games and console games.
The law was put in place as a countermeasure against the rising cases of internet addiction in South Korea. Online services in Korea usually require a national id card in order to register for account. This system allows the government check the age of players logging on to games at late hours.
The Cinderella Law has been adjusted to allow parents the right to remove the restriction on their children with a request from the government.
The results of the law are still being debated in South Korea to this day. Many are unsure if the ban is able to achieve its true objectives.
What About the Philippines?
Could a similar law be successful in the Philippines? The local PH government has already succeeded in streamlining many of the country's government owned corporations. This resulted in the Unified Multi-Purpose ID. This national identification card can be used to verify the age of gamers online.
The government of the Philippines has also started taking notice in the country's Esports prospects with the Games and Amusement Board. This is a clear sign that the gaming industry is receiving attention from the local government.
A local version of the Cinderella Law will also benefit the younger gamers by ensuring that they will not damage their health by pulling many unnecessary all-nighters.
Curfews and the Philippines
Quezon City currently has an ordinance aimed towards imposing a curfew on minors. This city ordinance received backing from the Supreme Court but several groups still challenge the legality of the curfew.
A similar bill, titled, Safe Hours for Children Act,, is currently being considered by the House of Representatives. The bill in question would prohibit children from roaming streets between 10:00PM and 5:00AM. The bill includes careful consideration on the apprehension of violators -- something necessary in these unsafe times.
Curfew regulation will always receive push back, but there are instances when such prohibition could be beneficial for those affected. Internet and gaming addiction has been touted as a dangerous condition that can cause irreparable damage to a gamer's physical and emotional health.
That isn’t to say that too much use of the internet is already addiction, as many parents might be quick to say. We do, after all, live in a digital age and having half our lives lived out online is the norm. Still, if online gaming is causing a child to stay out after dark and past healthy sleeping hours, then regardless of whether it is a full-blown addiction or not, some discipline is still necessary.
The Philippines would more than likely benefit from a similar Cinderella law to protect the younger demographic of gamers. Online gaming for minors past midnight needs to be regulated until such a time that they are aware of the side effects of gaming beyond midnight.