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Curb addiction to online games
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Internet games are a new form of gambling, which is corrupting millions of teenagers in China, says an article in Oriental Morning Post. Excerpts:

In our view, it is Internet games rather than pornographic content that threaten the health of teenagers most. Internet games are a big industry spreading across both the urban and rural regions of China and affecting the lives of millions of addicted teenagers, and even children.

We have to admit that human beings have weaknesses, and one weakness is the strong dependence on certain types of activities, such as sex, drugs and gambling.

Few people are addicted to sex, but many indulge in drugs. And, the difficulty in getting rid of drugs lies in the removal of the drug-users'psychological, rather than physical, dependence upon harmful substances. Gambling is a similar vice, and once a man is addicted to gambling, it would be rather difficult for him to get rid of it.

Internet games are similar to gambling in nature. These games contain both challenges to one's knowledge and the lure of profits. Some games encourage players to experience virtual success and bad luck in life. Therefore, once a man, either teenager or adult, is addicted in these games, he or she would succumb to the games without much resistance.

Internet games addicts stay awake all night and forget to eat three meals a day; they have no heart for an academic or professional life. In every small town of China, you find a slew of Internet bars around schools where students are happy playing Internet games. They are so happy that they play truant and ask their parents for more money and even commit crimes to get money for games.

For our generation, the failure to educate our children is generally related to the Internet game culture. One of my classmates told me that he was so angry that he almost tried to burn down the Internet bar where he found his "lost" child at midnight.

It is surprising that our government has made little effort in regulating Internet games though they are putting so many children at risk. The government departments concerned intervened only when the media exposed a criminal case related to Internet games. After that, they just sat back and let the Internet bars continue to rake in profits by luring innocent teenage students.

The number of children addicted to Internet games must be huge. The games are a large multinational market with a colossal amount of money involved and their biggest achievement appears to be eroding the spirit of our next generation.

(China Daily June 19, 2009)

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