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News Article

NBN delay – a blessing in disguise?
Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The delay in rolling out Australia’s National Broadband Network (The Australian, 1/8/12) may be a blessing in disguise, says FamilyVoice Australia research officer Ros Phillips. 

Last night’s ABC TV program Foreign Correspondent (31/7/12) looked at South Korea, where 90% of the population has access to superfast broadband.

“Reporter Mark Willacy said that the number of computer gamers in South Korea are estimated in millions – and addiction is a very real problem,” Ros Phillips said.  “Gaming venues called PC Bangs are filled with players who don’t know what time of day or night it is, and who have been playing for days on end.  

Willacy reported that murders and deaths have been caused by gaming obsession in Korea.  Special psychiatric clinics have been set up to treat addicted children and young people. 

 Psychiatrist Dr Lee explained that obsessive game play affects brain function, blurring the line between fantasy and reality.

“Game actions relating to violence or killing people can then become acceptable or natural,” Dr Lee said.

Ros Phillips said Korea’s disturbing rates of computer game addiction and resulting violence should be a warning to Australia.

“The NBN delay gives us more time to rethink our policy on computer games,” she said.  “Parents need to be educated about the harms of unfettered play, and governments need to ensure that classification guidelines limit the violent content.

“The new guidelines for computer games are loosely written and are set to allow much more violent games in the R18+ category than were previously available in Australia,” Ros Phillips said.

“Justice Minister Jason Clare needs to ensure that the guidelines are rewritten with community protection in mind.”


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