Govt Seeks To Fight Internet Addiction By Limiting Teens' Internet Access After Midnight

The Health Ministry is looking into implementing anti-addiction policies similar to existing regulations in countries like South Korea.

Cover image via The Malaysian Times

With teens and young adults in Malaysia becoming increasingly engrossed in online games and social media, the Health Ministry is contemplating limiting access to the Internet after midnight to combat Internet addiction

Speaking at Dewan Rakyat today, 13 August, Deputy Health Minister Dr. Lee Boon Chye said that the ministry is studying existing policy models from other countries to control Internet addiction among youths. 

Citing the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2017, Dr. Lee revealed that 34.9 percent of Malaysian teenagers between the ages of 13 to 17 are addicted to the Internet

According to Malay Mail, Dr. Lee also said that as of 2017, there are 24.1 million Internet users in the country, with over 80 percent of them using it to access social media over an average period of more than four hours daily. 

He added that the ministry is still "studying the prevalence of gaming addiction in Malaysia".

As such, the Health Ministry is looking at implementing certain steps to limit Internet access after midnight by referring to existing laws or regulating systems in countries like Japan and South Korea

Dr. Lee said that such countries limit Internet usage for those under 17 years of age, usually from 12am to 6am, adding that some video game providers also implement similar regulations for underage users.

"Some of these providers require underage users to stop playing for one or two hours, and if not will be forced offline from the game," he said, as quoted by Malay Mail

South Korea indeed has a law restricting children under the age of 16 from playing online video games between midnight and 6am (shutdown period) called the Youth Protection Revision Act

Image via SeoulSpace

Commonly referred to as the Shutdown Law or Cinderella Law, the law has been effect since November 2011. During the shutdown period, all gamers under 16 will not be able to access online games, although restrictions can be lifted at the request of their parents. 

Thailand also implemented a similar system in 2003, in which the government required online game servers to be blocked between 10pm and 6am. However, it was never passed as a formal law and replaced with a policy prohibiting minors from accessing Internet cafes two years later.

In China, the Online Game Addiction Prevention System or Fatigue System required online game providers to discourage underage gamers from playing for prolonged periods by dropping in-game rewards or stopping game play after a certain amount of time

Do you think restricting Internet access after midnight will be able to control Malaysian youths' addiction to social media and online games? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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