Page last updated at 11:21 GMT, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 12:21 UK

South Korean children face gaming curfew

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Online gaming is hugely popular in South Korea.

The South Korean government is introducing policies aimed at curbing the amount of time children spend playing online games.

The first involves barring online gaming access to young people of school age between 12am (midnight) and 8am.

The other policy suggests slowing down people's internet connections after they have been logged on to certain games for a long period of time.

The Culture Ministry is calling on games providers to implement the plans.

It is asking the companies to monitor the national identity numbers of their players, which includes the age of the individual.

Parents can also choose to be notified if their identity number is used online.

"The policy provides a way for parents to supervise their children's game playing," Lee Young-ah from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism told Reuters.

The Korea Herald reports that Barameui Nara, Maple Story and Mabinogi, three popular virtual worlds, will introduce the blackout later this year.

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Meanwhile role playing games "Dungeon and Fighter" and "Dragon Nest" will pilot the connection slowing scheme.

A total of 19 role playing games will eventually be included - a huge proportion of the online gaming market in the country.

South Korea has sophisticated high speed broadband connections and online gaming is enormously popular.

But there has been growing concern over the amount of time its citizens spend in virtual worlds and playing online games.

A couple whose baby daughter starved while they spent up to 12 hours a day in internet cafes raising a virtual child online have made headlines around the world.

They were charged with negligent homicide and are due to be sentenced on 16 April.



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