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Speculation mounts over ‘gaming addiction’ in NK

Jan. 29, 2018 - 17:15 By Cho yun-myung
Video game addiction may be a problem that some North Koreans face along with their South Korean counterparts.

North Korea’s state-run newspaper Rodong Shinmun said Monday that “If the world does not put in effort to address the dependence on entertainment (referring to gaming addiction), many more people will suffer from its damaging effects.”

The article claimed that “most electronic games pouring out from capitalist nations destroy sound minds of teenagers and are harmful both mentally and ideologically.” It went on to say that “gripped by these games, (teenagers are) neglecting their studies and failing to cultivate their realistic thinking and social adjustment abilities.”


It also described mobile game addiction as a global issue. The article referred to the fact that the World Health Organization had included gaming disorder in the International Classification of Diseases near the end of last year, saying that such a decision had been made in light of the problems mentioned above.

Based on this article by the Rodong Shinmun, which serves as North Korea’s propaganda mouthpiece, it is speculated that gaming disorders have risen as a social problem in North Korea.

A North Korean defector who used to run a computer arcade in the North said, “North Korea has recently seen a rise in places similar to Internet cafes in the South, not only in Pyongyang but also in rural areas.”

The defector added that as a result of increasing ownership of computers and mobile phones in North Korea, computer and mobile games are becoming a part of North Koreans’ daily lives.

By Cho Yun-myung (