Editor's note: China is mulling over a midnight gaming ban to combat internet addiction among teenagers. If the ban is passed, those below the age of 18 will not be able to play online games between 12 am and 8 am. Will the ban be effective in helping deter young people from a gaming addiction? Forum readers share their opinions.
seneca (expat in China)
Don't always absolve parents of their responsibilities! They are not "too busy" to look after their kids; their kids are AT SCHOOL while the parents work. Do parents give their children a good model of how to spend their spare time? I think not. What is the Internet for the young was and sometimes still is the TV for the older and young generations. Almost every family turns on their TV during meal times. That is viewed as impolite in many countries. It is a way of avoiding face-to-face interaction and dialogue. People merely gesture to each other. And who buys the computer and the iphone for the young? The same parents. Apparently they do not care for their children very much.
Visitors play online games during the 9th China Digital Entertainment Expo, also known as ChinaJoy 2011, in Shanghai, China, July 30, 2011.[Photo/IC]
My experience with my son and his friends convinced me of the dangers of "gaming" on computers. When he was a teenager he spent every spare moment playing. His personality changed and he became aggressive and depressed. Limiting his computer gaming time to one hour per night was torture for him, but he did return to normal.
In China the problem is potentially worse because of the pressures to succeed at school. Teenagers with limited ability cannot keep up and become disillusioned. They give up and turn to one of the few leisure pursuits available: computer gaming. The computer becomes a warm and isolated bath where they feel safe to enjoy another reality. Attempts to disconnect them from this world are dealt with aggressively. Like any drug addiction, it must be treated as a medical mental illness. For the most serious cases maybe the only solution is a "cold turkey" approach of the "boot camp". Parents need to keep careful supervision over what their children do on computers and the time spent on "gaming". Computers are a vital tool in the 21st century if used sensibly.
An 1-year-old baby plays a game on an iPad. Jiang Xiaoying/For China Daily
The ban is well-intentioned, but it is hard to implement if parents are not involved. It should be up to parents to set the rules, instead of the government. No parent should allow their child to sit up all night gaming.
A child is playing online game during the 9th China Digital Entertainment Expo & Conference, also known as ChinaJoy 2011, in Shanghai New International Expo Center, China, July 28, 2011.[Photo/IC]
As usual, the rest of the world is ahead of the United States in admitting this serious problem. Making money is the prime factor behind the lack of movement of our government officials. They are too close to the manufacturers of the games and the electronic devices being pushed on youth and adults worldwide. If parents took the time to spend quality time with their children in fun activities there would be less of a need in the lives of the youth for real contact with a person who loves them and is concerned about what they do.
Chinese primary school children play video games at a digital content exposition in Beijing, China, October 25, 2007.[Photo/IC]
Maybe if parents acted like parents and instilled some discipline in their child, and not rely on grand-parents and electronic babysitters such as the internet, there wouldn't be this problem. I have come across more 'adults' in China who resort to tears and tantrums when requested to put their phones in their bag and pay attention to what they should be doing. Setting boundaries is essential for parents when they are raising a healthy child.
A boy who was addicted to the internet, has his brain scanned for research purposes at Daxing Internet Addiction Treatment Center in Beijing Feb 22, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]