Rising Concerns Over Teen Online Gambling Addiction in South Korea


  • South Korea grapples with rising teen online gambling addiction, lacking enough treatment options.
  • Teen addiction cases spike by 75%, highlighting the need for better support.
  • Experts call for government-funded networks to help troubled teens.

South Korea is facing a growing concern as teenagers in the country increasingly fall victim to online gambling addiction. Authorities are taking steps to curb this alarming trend, but a shortage of medical support for treating teenagers addicted to online gambling has come to the forefront of the issue.

Currently, the National Center for Youth Internet Addiction Treatment is the sole facility in South Korea offering rehabilitation programs specifically designed to combat online gambling addictions among teenagers. 

Under this program, admitted individuals are required to relinquish their smartphones and any electronic devices with internet access for the duration of the camp, which spans 11 nights and 12 days. During this time, young participants are educated about the perils of gambling while also engaging in activities like learning musical instruments and playing basketball, or ping pong.

Director Shim Yong-chool of the National Center for Youth Internet Addiction Treatment acknowledges the challenges faced by these teenagers during their stay. He emphasizes that despite the relatively short duration of the program, it feels like a significant period of time for the young participants. Notably, some teenagers decide to quit the program prematurely, illustrating the severity of the addiction issue.

The need for strengthened medical support

The sharp increase in adolescents vulnerable to online gambling addiction highlights the pressing need to bolster the nation’s medical capacity to address this crisis. According to data presented by the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, the number of teenagers seeking medical treatment for gambling addiction surged by a staggering 75 percent over a four-year period, from 65 cases in 2018 to 114 cases in 2022. In the first eight months of this year alone, more than 110 teenage gambling addicts sought medical assistance.

During a recent special crackdown on online gambling by the National Police Agency, it was revealed that out of 353 individuals arrested, 39 were juveniles, underscoring the gravity of the situation among the youth.

Additionally, the Gender Equality and Family Ministry’s 2023 habit diagnosis survey on teens’ internet and smartphone usage reported that a concerning 28,838 teenagers were at risk of developing online gambling problems. Experts point out that the digital environment’s familiarity, coupled with early exposure to digital devices and fast internet access, may contribute to the rise in teenage online gambling addictions.

While the National Center for Youth Internet Addiction Treatment plays a crucial role in addressing online gambling addiction, its limitations are evident as it is not affiliated with a medical association. 

Addiction experts emphasize that addictions, even among teenagers, can have lasting consequences, including potential impacts on neurological development. Therefore, they call for comprehensive support systems that link schools, youth facilities, and mental health institutions to provide assistance to teenagers struggling with online gambling addictions.

Government action on online gambling

In the face of this growing crisis, experts and concerned individuals alike are urging the government to take more decisive action. Funding mechanisms must be established to create a network of support that extends beyond a single rehabilitation center. 

This network should encompass educational institutions, youth facilities, and medical professionals who can collectively address the multifaceted aspects of online gambling addiction among teenagers.

The government’s role in addressing this issue is paramount, given the potential long-term consequences of addiction on the psychological and neurological development of young individuals. By investing in comprehensive and integrated support systems, South Korea can take significant strides toward mitigating the rising tide of online gambling addiction among its youth.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Lacton Muriuki

Lacton is an experienced journalist specializing in blockchain-based technologies, including NFTs and cryptocurrency. He dabbles in daily crypto news rich with well-researched stats. He adds aesthetic appeal, adding a human face to technology.

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