Chinese Youth Addicted to Internet: Government Warns, Considers Ban

Dennis Faas's picture

Imagine a world where minors can have their online game sessions legally ended after a fixed amount of playtime.

Envision a place where psychiatric clinics are available to wean children away from compulsive Internet use.

Picture a country that bans its youth from Internet cafes.

Welcome to China.

The psych wards are already open, Internet cafes may soon be closed to children in China if legislation passes, and Chinese Parliament is currently considering technology to shut down a minor's online game access after the designated quantity of time has passed. (Source:

The Reason

There has been increasing concern in China recently regarding kids and Internet addiction. There are an estimated 123 million Chinese online -- with 15.4 million of those being minors. The Chinese government believes that two million of its youth are hooked on the 'net -- and that number is quickly becoming bigger. (Source:

The Reaction

This past May, Fangshan County in North China's Shanxi Province went as far as to shut down seven of the area's Internet cafes in order to prevent minors from getting online. The reaction was decidedly mixed.

"Students who used to indulge in the Internet for hours a day have now returned to school, and are making progress in their studies," stated He Xiaoqing, a teacher at Fangshan's No. 2 Middle School.

However, people in Fangshan are predictably reacting the opposite way.

A local resident with the surname Zhang criticized the policy on an Internet forum. "Net cafes gave us a platform for communication and getting all kinds of information. Now, with every cafe closed down, our daily lives are less diverse," he decried.

As Zhang later pointed out, purchasing a computer and accessing the Internet are still far beyond the scope of an ordinary citizen in a developing country.

Qui Baochang, a lawyer for Beijing's Huijia Law Firm, concurs. "We cannot just blame net cafes for all wrongdoings," he said in a statement to the China Daily newspaper. (Source:

Outside of China

Of course, Internet and gaming addictions are hardly a Chinese phenomenon. Earlier this year, a a video game detox center opened for addicts in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and addiction to technology is a concern in North America as well.

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