Online Gaming Officially Makes You an Internet Addict in Korea

Illustration for article titled Online Gaming Officially Makes You an Internet Addict in Korea
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The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family (MOGEF) in South Korea released the results of last year's survey aimed at studying the causes of internet addiction. The Ministry conducted the study from October to December 2011, which was just around the time when Korean news began to report on school violence. The possible link between school violence and video games came later. I've been hoping that the government would provide grounds for such claims, if not hard proof, with science and data. Well, they've certainly given us data.

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It seems all that pressure from concerned parents around the country gave the MOGEF, along with other related government branches, the proper funding it needed to do a more comprehensive survey. The scope of the study on internet addiction greatly expanded from the 2010 survey in terms of the age range and sample size. In 2010, the government studied people aged 9 to 39 years, with a sample size of 7,600 people. In 2011, the ages went from 5 to 49 years, and the sample size increased to 10,000 people.

Overall, the rate of internet addiction has dropped from 8.0% to 7.7%. However, for those at "high risk," the rate has increased by 0.3%. The government reports that normal folk who use the internet check for news articles and other information (43%), while internet addicts typically used the internet to play online games (41.3%). They throw a bunch of other numbers around, and the verdict they reach is that gaming is linked to internet addiction. The government will use these results to establish education about internet addiction as well as preventive measures.

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You can download the results of their survey at their website. The report is written in Korean, and you'll need a program that can open .hwp files. You'll find that it is rather brief (nine pages in all), and I can't say I find the survey wholly accountable. It's kind of a slapdash effort, and it bodes ill for gaming in Korea, but I have to admire the ingenuity behind MOGEF's method to expand their influence.

Link to Survey Download [Ministry of Gender Equality and Family]

(Top photo: Lee Jin-man | AP)

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DISCUSSION

Sounds a little skewed to me. Just because you play a game online, you're suddenly addicted to the internet? Sounds more like you're addicted to the online games. Are they honestly piling together MMO's and people that OCD on facebook/e-mail?

I'd say obsessively checking your facebook/e-mail, and a general sense of dread or panic at "disconnection" from the internet is very different from playing MMO's (or any other online game, like arena based games such as CoD or LoL). You can play MMO's easily for the same amount of time as the others and be very normal by comparison.