Korea's Silly "Shutdown Law" Might Be Unconstitutional

Illustration for article titled Koreas Silly Shutdown Law Might Be Unconstitutional
Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

While the U.S. Supreme Court susses out the constitutionality of health care legislation, South Korea is navigating the legality of its Shutdown Law.

As previously mentioned, the Shutdown Law was created to prevent gamers under sixteen from gaming during a six hour block at night so apparently they would sleep (or study?).

The law has already impacted both Xbox Live and the PSN in South Korea.


Now, two lawsuits filed last fall are challenging the Shutdown Law's constitutionality.

Parents and teenagers with a Korean organization representing culture filed one lawsuit, which contests that the law invades parental rights to educate their own children as well as equal opportunity rights.

Korean game companies, such as NCsoft, Neowiz, and Nexon, also filed in a separate suit, stating that the Shutdown Law is unjust.

Both arguments are now being heard, and if the court decides that the Shutdown Law is unconstitutional, the law will not be enforced. This will set a legal precedent in South Korea.


Meanwhile, the country's Ministry of Gender Equality and Family recently stated that the Shutdown Law is the bare minimum to protect teenagers. Anyone know the Korean for "nanny state"?

셧다운제 위헌소송 2건 ‘심리 진행 중' [ThisIsGame]

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


The silly thing is that this could all be averted if Korea would just readjust its educational policy. It's funny to me that they don't see a problem with keeping students in academic-oriented high schools in their seats studying from 8:30AM to 9:30PM (after which most of the students go to private academies to study various subjects usually until 11PM or so). Rather, it must be access to online video games from midnight to 6AM that's the real problem. Clearly those games are why Korean students don't get enough sleep at night, not the fact that they're forced to study for so long that 12-6AM is the only time they can actually relax and have a little fun.

It's not so much a "nanny state" situation, though I'll admit it's easy to read it that way. No, what it's about is the fact that Korean bureaucrats don't want to acknowledge the real problems with how they've set up the education system. Children are so overstuffed with education that they can only ever do extracurricular activities at "unsuitable" hours. And then the bureaucrats, in order to further ignore the problem, drum up these fake outrages about internet or video game "addictions," as though it's somehow surprising that kids binge on games, the internet, or any sort of passive entertainment after spending 80 hours a week taking lessons and studying. It's insane.

And the thing is, it's all relatively recent. The parents of the kids who are living this nightmare right now did not have this sort of rigorous education policy in place when they were school-aged. So what this means, sadly, is that many of the parents don't have any idea what they're doing to their children. A lot of them see it as a gift to their offspring, giving them such rigorous educations, pushing them to enter the best universities, to obtain the best jobs. It's an educational arms race. Of all the middle-aged Koreans I've met, only the school teachers really seem to have internalized just how absurd the system is. Most of them talk about how they want to send their own kids to Canada or the US for high school, because the Korean education system has gone overboard, and they're afraid it will cause their children lifelong trauma.