Wednesday, July 21, 2010

1 in 10 internet users in South Korea addicted to online gaming

About 2 million South Koreans – nearly one in 10 internet users in the country – are addicted to online gaming, according to the government. While the number of teenage addicts has fallen from more than 1 million to 938,000 in the past two years, those in their 20s and 30s have risen to 975,000, with the unemployed and university students considered at greatest risk.

South Korea's status as the world’s fastest and most developed broadband nation gives the online gaming addicts the technical wherewithal to fuel their addiction. Many spend every waking moment immersed in role-playing games, in which players form alliances to guide their characters through mythical worlds, collecting extra powers and other items as they go.

In May 2010, a man was sentenced to two years in prison after he and his wife allowed their three-month-old daughter to starve to death while they raised a virtual child, for up to half a day at a time, at a 24-hour internet cafe. The same month a court sentenced a 22-year-old to 20 years in prison for clubbing his mother to death after she complained about his online gaming habit.

Ji, a 27-year-old mobile content developer, has said, “In my line of work I spend a lot of time in front of a computer, so this (gaming cafe) is where I feel most comfortable. It’s my way of relieving stress. I could drink or go to the cinema, but this is how I want to spend my spare time. I don't have a girlfriend, and I'm not likely to meet one here.”

Date: 13 July 2010
Source: Guardian UK

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