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Why the young Chinese get physically weaker (3)

(Shanghai Daily)

14:25, December 21, 2012

The heavy burden of homework also minimizes pupils' chance of any outdoor activities after school. Typically a child is either at home, in the classroom, or on the road - to school, home or the next cramming session for tests.

Ironically, rural and urban students alike are fast losing interests in the mundane outdoors.

A report titled "The curse of Internet cafes: National rejuvenation cannot hinge on house-bound kids" (China Youth Daily, December 18), analyzed the health and social costs of Internet addiction.

Today, urban children are brought up on laptops, mobiles and iPads, rather than traditional toys.

In rural China, the idyllic scenes of children enjoying themselves to their hearts' content in the rolling hills or fields belong to the previous century. The reality today are the rows and rows of packed Internet cafes near schools.

In colleges and universities, it is the same. "Often you find a virtually deserted campus. Even in the dormitory, roommates rarely talk to each other, but are on their computer, busy interacting via QQ, weibo, or (a social portal)," the report said.

A health survey by the Ministry of Education in 2011 found that around 40 percent of primary school children suffer from myopia.

The eyes of my son used to light up at the suggestion of an outdoor walk and time in the sunshine, but today no tourist destination on earth would interest him. "Just leave me at my grandparents," he would say, not elaborating why.

He has minimal access to computer games, compared with his peers, but when he meets his best friend, their conversation is dominated by cybertalk, and their favorite real life games are those that they can pretend to be playing online. He almost never cries, but he wept copious tears on Monday because downloading of a game took so long that it almost used up his allotted computer time for the day.

Internet cafes

For years professor Tao Hongkai from Huazhong Normal University has been calling for outlawing Internet cafes because he believes that computers are not only compromising children's health, but their intelligence and their mental and emotional health as well. A small bit of evidence is that children fresh from computer games generally appear to be in a sort of trance.

Given China's huge market for computer games for children and youth, it should come as no surprise that Internet game creators are among the most dazzling start-ups and upstarts in China.

Many of them enjoy generous government subsidies, since many governments aspire to fuel local growth by developing "animation arts."

This industry, broadly defined as "cultural," allegedly has the merit of being "non-polluting" in terms of the physical environment.

In this national jockeying for growth, the plight of Internet game victims has been sanitized.

"He slouched in the sepulchral, murky recess of the Internet cafe, his wiry figure totally absorbed by the huge chair. There are few movements about him, except for the jerk he gives now and then after executing a particularly satisfying strike," according to one report describing an Internet addict surnamed Li.

Can we hope to achieve national rejuvenation with a younger generation whose health - mental and physical - is being eroded by the cyber world?

This could be a tough fight, and one whose outcome depends on whether our leaders would continue to approve of money made at the expense of the health of our children, in the name of "culture."

【1】 【2】 【3】

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Li at 2012-12-2275.172.234.*
You now live a domesticated, consumer lifestyle which is entropic. The disintegration of the population is a natural result.

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