Can China Beat Internet Addiction?
A new plan targets kids' Internet use after a young gaming addict poisons his parents.
China has announced a new initiative to curb a growing problem with Internet and gaming addiction. The plan is geared towards intervening at a young age, and comes on the heels of an incident in which a 14-year-old Chinese boy poisoned his parents after his mother took away his video games. “Internet addiction has become a serious problem in China,” says Li Jianwei of the Ministry of Culture. “Although some rules restricting students from playing online games have been introduced, the problem has not been solved completely.” Under the proposal, steps will be taken to diagnose the problem early on by developing a definition for Internet addiction. "The unhealthy content online, such as violence and obscenity, has damaged young people, physically and mentally," says Wang Ping, of the Chinese Society for Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Research. "But what symptoms define Internet addiction? How to diagnose young addicts, and at what level of addiction, is still vague.” Next, the nation plans to introduce tighter regulations on internet cafes and online gaming companies, and stricter supervision of kids' internet use. This may take a few years to complete; in the meantime, parents may continue to come up with creative solutions to the problem.