[Hallyupedia] Cinderella Law (신데렐라법)

연합뉴스 / 2021-07-17 07:00:36
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by Yun Ji Hyun / Cha Min Kyung


Cinderella Law 

[ENG] The Youth Protection Revision Act, also known as the 'shutdown law' or 'Cinderella Law,' is a system where the South Korean National Assembly forbids teenagers to access games late at night. 


▲ This photo shows mobile games and teenagers playing computer games at a ‘PC bang” or “PC cafe.” (Yonhap)


The Cinderella Law, also referred to as the “shutdown law,” is a system implemented in Korea that regulates the use of online games by teenagers late at night. This system is called the Cinderella law in reference to the famous Cinderella fairytale as young adults are restricted to access games at midnight.

The Cinderella law bans teenagers under the age of 16 from playing games between midnight and 6 a.m. In order to keep this system, businesses that provide internet games would require gamers to verify their age and self-identification.

The system was introduced in 2011 to prevent young adults from game addiction and applies to PC online games accessible on the Internet and PC packaged games using CDs. However, the shutdown law does not apply to mobile games played on smartphones or tablet PCs as well as console games that do not need internet access.


◇ Is the 'Cinderella law’ really effective?
Since implementing the system, intense criticism and confrontation for violating basic constitutional rights, such as the right to pursue happiness or self-determination while disguising the shutdown law as a way of protecting teenagers.

In addition, it has been constantly pointed out that the system is ineffective and that it only diminishes the game industry.

 ▲ This photo shows an alarm that notifies PC users the remaining time left on their computers. (Yonhap)

Game enthusiasts have often used non-regulated online games with overseas servers in order to avoid shutdowns. In fact, this meant that teenagers could play games late at night if they wanted to.

During the regulation, users avoided Korean servers, leading to a reduction in the size of the domestic game industry.

As the government excessively regulated gamers, it has caused side effects to appear as many teenagers use their parents' names or steal other people's accounts.

There was also criticism that the mainstream of the game market has shifted from online to mobile games, it has not gained as much popularity since certain features are not actually available to be applied on mobile games.


◇ Latest Minecraft controversy reflects the clash between Korea’s game regulation and game developers
As Minecraft, a popular game amongst young gamers, especially elementary school students, released an “R-rated” game, it has once again caused controversy in relation to the shutdown law.



▲ This screen capture from Minecraft's website shows age restrictions in South Korea to purchase the Java edition of the game. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The controversy arose as Microsoft acquired Mojang Studio, Minecrafter’s original developer, in 2014, and changed the log-in process. Users are required to use a Xbox Live account when logging in for security reasons.

However, the problem was that Xbox Live accounts are only available for Koreans over the age of 19, as Microsoft modified its policy to deal with the shutdown system in Korea.

Like such, young users who used to enjoy Minecraft have suddenly been denied in playing the game.

Minecraft, which used to be a child-friendly game has suddenly become an adult game.

Gamers filed an online petition to the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae, pleading to turn the popular Minecraft game back to a child-friendly game as well as urging to abolish the shutdown system.

In the National Assembly of South Korea, several lawmakers have proposed a bill to abolish or reorganise the Cinderella law.

Some alternatives include an "optional shutdown system" that limits the use of games when teenagers or parents request for it, and a "parent option" that allows late-night games to young adults if requested by their guardians.



(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved

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