Ex-post evaluation of illegalizing juvenile online game after midnight

A case of shutdown policy in South Korea

Media policy
Internet hours
Sleep duration
Policy evaluation
Youth policy
Telematics and Informatics. 34(8). 1597-1606.

Changjun Lee

Hongbum Kim

Ahreum Hong*


Media attention



In November 2011, the Korean government legalized blocking access to online games for youths younger than age 16 late at night; this is called the shutdown policy. Using multiple regressions we examined how the compulsory block affected youths’ Internet hours and sleep duration. Data were drawn from the 2011, 2012 Korea Youth Behavior Risk Factor Survey, a cross-sectional online survey of middle and high school students aged 13–18 years. Legalizing a ban of online gaming late at night for youths caused an increase in the predicted probability of being in a high-ranked Internet user group by 1.6 percent points, a decrease in the predicted probability of Internet addiction by 0.7 percent points, and an increase in sleep duration of 1.5 min. All results showed a gender difference in the effect of the policy. Although the net effect of the shutdown policy was statistically significant, the small effect size, the partial effect on female youths, and the side effects related to human basic rights and inappropriate regulation of the game industry made the effectiveness of the policy arguable.