The Korean playground is virtual

A Korean gaming news website published results of a survey among young internet users. The survey has been conducted by two websites and among 86.000 surfers aged 8-13. is something like Second Life for children, whereas is a website of a cable TV program comparable to Cartoon Network. Despite a likely bias in the survey population some of the results are fascinating and frightening at the same time.

Approximately 62% of the participants use the internet 1-2 hours a day. This may not sound a lot to you but in Korea even young school children return from school around 6 p.m. or even later. Subtracting time for having dinner and eventual homework these two hours represent probably 80%-90% of their free time during one day. This is underlined by the fact that 92% surf from home. What do the kids do online on their virtual playground? Well the same thing we used to do on real playgrounds, i.e. playing (39% play online games) and meeting friends (27% work on their “Minihompi” or visit their friends’ “Minihompis”). In connection to that it is not surprising that CyWorld is the second most popular website (29%) just after naver (57%).

This trend underlines the appearance of a truly digital youth. However in Korea it gets an almost dangerous dimension which ultimately will further increase problems like internet addiction. On the other hand this early embrace of the internet and its virtual worlds is a good explanation why Koreans usually are regarded as tech savvy, which enhances the development of new services and businesses in the TMT sector.


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