Can you imagine a world where kids stay out all night playing video games at Internet cafes? Believe it or not, that's already happening in China. Read this news story: "China opens halfway house for Net addicts."
According to the article, "Computer and online gaming has exploded in China in recent years, with an estimated 14 million people taking part. Amid growing concern that more and more young people are getting hooked, China has issued a raft of regulations aimed at curbing excessive game playing at Internet cafes and heavily fining owners that admit minors."
Wang Hui, the chief social worker at the halfway house for Internet addicts that recently opened in mainland China, claims that they don't force kids to go to the shelter. "We wander around in nearby Internet bars at night and bring them to the halfway house if the teen agrees."
Internet addiction could very well be a legitimate thing, but I can't help think about the family dynamics of the homes where these wayward kids are escaping from. Parents should be more involved with their kids' lives, restrict and monitor the amount of time they can spend playing games on the Internet, and start taking responsibility for their jobs as parents instead of blaming everyone and everything else for how their children behave.
The final sentence of the article made me shake my head in disbelief. "In May, the parents of a 13-year-old boy who killed himself after playing a computer game for 36 hours sued the game's Chinese distributor." Do you think the game was even remotely responsible for this teen's suicide? If you do, I'm eager to hear your explanation.
Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.