Monday, May 29, 2006

10 South Koreans Died From Game Addiction In 2005

Authorities in South Korea are concerned about computer games addiction.

The country is considered a nation which experts describe hosting the most extreme gamer culture.

The government has launched a game addiction hotline. Hundreds of private hospitals and psychiatric clinics have opened specialized units to treat the problem.

According to government figures, 2.4 per cent of the population aged nine to 39 suffer from game addiction.

Another 10.2 percent were found to be "borderline cases". These are people who play games to the point of sleep deprivation, disruption of daily life and a loosening grip on reality.

The situation has grown so acute that 10 South Koreans -- mostly teenagers and people in their twenties -- died in 2005 from game addiction-related causes, up from only two known deaths from 2001 to 2004, according to government officials. Most of the deaths were attributed to a disruption in blood circulation caused by sitting in a single, cramped position for too long -- a problem known as "economy class syndrome," a reference to sitting in an airplane's smallest seats on long flights.

One of the reasons that young people are more likely to suffer from gaming addictions in South Korea is the acute stress as they face educational pressures which are worse than other countries.

Apparently they play to escape where traditional vices such as sex and drugs are rare.


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