The growing problem of juvenile Internet addiction has prompted 63 parents to back a joint lawsuit against Web game companies. The extreme behaviour of addicts, causing parents to dub Internet games “e-heroin,” has become an increasing cause for concern … In December 2004, 13-year-old Zhang Xiaoyi killed himself by jumping off a 24-story building in the northern city of Tianjin. Some blamed the suicide on Internet addiction. Statistics show that 15 per cent of the country’s youngsters, more than 2.44 million people, are addicted to Internet games.
The death mentioned above is not an isolated incident. The government has introduced “measures” to stop minors playing violent games. There is no news whether it is also discouraging minors to play a recently released anti-Japanese game. Gotta get ’em young, eh?
This article offers some insight into the pressures of society leading to the escape to online gaming.
“I had no way to solve my problems, and no place to release myself, so I went on-line. I often quarrelled with my parents and sometimes we hit each other,” said Qing, who has been playing games online for four years. The problem is deep-rooted and Qing doubts 15 days in hospital will help him. “The internet is just a tool, not a cause of the problem. Change needs to happen across society. The pressures from school and from home are just too much.”
Dai Ou acknowledges some responsibility: “Parents cannot bear their children to stray from the path they have mapped out. Children can only realise their potential if they know in their hearts that their parents really think that they are the best. But partly because of our tradition, parents incessantly nag their children to be better. Competition is fierce. Some get eliminated. We don’t want our children to be the ones who don’t survive. These kids online are in a lot of pain.”