460,000 young Web addicts in Guangdong

08:51, February 26, 2010      

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GUANGZHOU: The number of young Internet addicts has grown to more than 460,000 in Guangdong province, fueling concerns over the negative impact of the habit, a recent survey has shown.

The survey, conducted by the Guangdong provincial committee of the Communist Youth League, showed that about half of the young Web addicts indulged in online games, listed as the top cause of addiction, with Web chatting or online relationships ranked a distant second.

The survey polled about 1,000 primary and high school students last month.

Many students have suffered eye diseases, cervical spondylosis, poor sleeping patterns and weakening immunity, as well as frequent fatigue and anxiety after spending a lot of time surfing the Internet, the survey revealed.

"More than 64 percent of the young Internet addicts started to hate school," it said.

The survey also predicted that the number of Internet addicts will continue growing in the prosperous province, which borders the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, in the following years.

The number of young Internet addicts in the country had increased to more than 24 million by the end of last year, almost double the number in 2005, major information portal people.com.cn reported. The figure is expected to exceed 50 million by 2015.

Yu Huihui, a psychologist under the Guangzhou committee of the Communist Youth League, said most children become addicted to the Internet because they cannot bear the academic pressure or they feel neglected by their families.

"Internet addiction will certainly hinder the health of children," Yu told China Daily.

"Children are most vulnerable to Internet addiction between the ages of 14 and 16," she said.

Tan Juntie, secretary of the Guangdong provincial committee of the Communist Youth League, said: "Some illegal cyber cafes and inappropriate websites do have a negative impact on children."

Tan said teachers and parents should strengthen cooperation to help guide children on the proper use of the Internet and keep them away from inappropriate online content.

Ye Lilin, Party secretary of the Guangya High School, said schools also should play an increasingly important role in educating children so that "they can tell good websites from the bad ones".

Chao Yanting, a class adviser at the Guangzhou No 98 High School, said about half of the students in her class surf the Net frequently.

"Most of the boys play online games while the girls chat on MSN and QQ," Chao said.

She urged parents to strengthen education and supervision on their wards, saying most of her class surfs the Net at home or at cyber cafes after school hours.

Source: China Daily
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