In April of last year, it was reported that South Korea was taking steps to restrict underage access to online gaming after midnight by imposing late-night curfews. Following South Korea’s lead, Vietnam seeks to impose a similar curfew by blocking access to online games. Internet Service Providers have been asked to shut-out gamers from 10pm to 8am the following day. This block is scheduled to go into full effect on March 3, 2011.
Vietnam’s Information and Communication Ministry has been hard at work combating gaming addiction, and it is at their request that this regulation is being imposed. The Ministry is taking this regulation very seriously and will deal harshly with those found in violation of the curfew. The Deputy Minister Le Nam Thang stated:
“Provincial departments of information and communication will inspect on-line games activities nationwide and deal with organizations that violate regulations by canceling their services.”
While this curfew is designed to target youths as the South Korean curfew did, it seems it will also inconvenience adults who have paid for internet access. Service providers have also stated that such blocks will make maintenance of online games more difficult.
Curiously, the Ministry states that over a quarter of Vietnam’s population (26%) use the internet, which translates to over 23 million internet users. This number is dwarfed by South Korea, where 80% of the population uses the internet – nearly 40 million internet users, according to Internet World Stats. At the same time, however, Internet World Stats reports an astronomical growth in Vietnamese internet users from 2000-2010 (over 12, 000%). South Korea’s internet users have only increased by about 105% since 2000. It is possible that this incredible growth in internet usage has had a much greater effect on social issues in Vietnam than the article touches on.