Use this trick to get around Korea’s Cinderella Law

Last Updated by Gray Williams on October 07, 2019

Kids plays video games. It doesn’t matter what country they live in, where they go to school, what language they speak, or how much their parents insist they go outside and play, they’re still going to play.

Kids plays video games

Some countries leave it up to the parents to dictate how much students can play video games, others try to recruit teachers to help fight the tide toward digital characters racing, fighting, and collecting endless mushrooms or golden spheres.

South Korea has taken the fight a step farther. Since 2011 young people have been restricted from playing video games online from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. This so-called Cinderella Law has been challenged but enforced for nearly eight years.

How did the law come into force and what can be done to circumvent it? This article will take on both of those questions and introduce you to the power of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

History of Korea’s Cinderella Law’

The movement to pass a shutdown law on video games for children under the age of 16 in Korea was started as a grassroots movement in 2004. A member of the Grand Nation Party proposed it as the Juvenile Protection Act the following year, but opposition from the gaming industry killed the bill. It was proposed and killed in 2006, 2008, and 2009 before the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family came up amendments to introduce their own version of the bill.

In April 2011, another version of the Juvenile Protection Act amendment was introduced to the Korea Assembly and passed.

In November of that same year, the shutdown law went into effect for every online game in service in Korea. This applies to any game that requires a resident registration number, along with some social games. Any Korean child less than 17 years old cannot play video games for the six hours starting at midnight and lasting until 6 a.m.

In 2014, the law was challenged, but a constitutional court upheld the shutdown.

The Cinderella law is so-called because of the fairy tale of the same name in which Cinderella is magically transformed into a princess and goes to the royal ball in her finery and with servants and a handsome coach. But the magic comes with a warning, that at the stroke of midnight, the magic runs out and she turns back into her former self. The Cinderella Law does not extend to console games of those played on smartphones or tablets. The ban can also be lifted if it is requested by a parent.

South Korea takes the subject of Internet addiction seriously, reporting in 2010 that about 14% of children ages 9-to-12 in Korea were addicted to it.

The VPN Workaround

Virtual Private Network (VPN) Whether you are an adult with children under 16 that you allow to play video games at night or a young adult wishing to determine your own hours of play, the best way around the Cinderella Law is to employ the services of a VPN.

VPNs allow you to access the Internet through a third-party server that takes your identity and masks it by use of encryption and remote servers. For instance, if you wanted to connect to a certain online gaming platform at 12:30 a.m. but you are under the age of 17, your connection would be blocked.

By downloading a VPN app, you could instead connect to a third-party server, which would form a “tunnel” between your computer and a remote one outside of Korea. All your data requests would be encrypted so that your ISP or the Korean government could not see what information you were uploading. When they reach the remote server, the requests would be decrypted and assigned a new IP address representative of the country you have connected to.

The information would then be sent to the Internet with the Korean government none the wiser. As you begin interacting with the game, your data would first go to the remote server where it would encrypted and sent back to your computer, where it is decrypted and becomes viewable.

With online gaming such a visually-driven media, you need a high-end VPN to keep up with the pace of the action.

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Gray Williams
Gray Williams is an experienced data and communications engineer and cross-platform copy and content writer and editor with a keen interest in cybersecurity. He has been working with and researching, VPNs and other online privacy tools for many years.