Korea is well-known to be the central hub of online gaming. The nation of Starcraft, Diablo, Lineage, Maple Story... Although they don't exist as ubiquitous as they used to be, PC Cafes(Known as PC-Bangs in Korea), still dominate the entertainment industry for teens. Growing up in Korea until the end of middle school, the only form of entertainment we had was computer games, especially online games like Lineage, UO, and so on.
Here is my opinon. I could go on and on about this forever but to keep it short : It's not that Koreans are born with some sort of crazy instinct to play online games. It is because there are not much other forms of entertainment available for young people before the drinking age. (Drinking culture in Korea is immense and endless to describe, I'll get to them in another post). Take Seoul for example, 10 million people in one city. There are not enough space for people to go out and play sports and do outdoorsy things. So a lot of people turn to online games, and get addicted to it.
So check this out. Korean Government is planning to enforce this new legislation called "Shut-down law", which bars anyone under 16 from logging on to their gaming accounts from midnight to 6am. (Link in Korean: 게임 셧다운제)
Given the widespread addiction to online gaming in Korean society, I think there's got to be some sort of solution. But given the fact that minors in Korea have very limited forms of entertainment besides online gaming, this wouldn't really help. One might say, "hey, they could just get more sleep!", but I think most will just have to spend that time studying. As far as I know, most high schoolers in Korea do not go to sleep at midnight. Education in Korea is brutally competitive, and it's one and only priority students are supposed to have...
So instead of banning online games, they should be offering teens better after-school activities such as sports and music (besides piano). Something that teens can enjoy and the rest of the society can accept. But it seems like Korean society is still not ready accept such notion.
Okay - they're trying to push the law up to "under 19 years old". Give teens a break, christ.
(Shut-down law to cover up to 19 year olds - 셧다운제 적용 만19세로 상향 추진)