Online games 'damage' children
Fri, May 28, 2010
Viet Nam News

Last week, Viet Nam News asked its readers for their views about online games and the way to manage their undesirable consequences. Online gamer Dang Tuan Dung who imitated an online game to kill his aunt provided an example.

J P Shriram, Indian, HCM City

Online games are a beautiful technology that activate the nervous system but parents and governments should decide which are suitable and useful for children.

Cyber police should be vigilant in monitoring gaming shops. They should also ban websites that provide violent games.

Governments should define suitable and non-suitable games for children as well as for the adults and heavy penalties should be imposed for any violations.

Cao Xuan Tung, Vietnamese, Ha Noi

The behaviour of two 16-year-old boys who killed a man for his money to buy virtual assets in the Vo Lam Truyen Ki online game echoes the behaviour of Dang Tuan Dung.

Neither showed remorse or fear before the judge but instead laughed and talked with each other.

The detrimental effects of online games have long been known. But many parents ignore the danger and assume that playing online games is fun and simple entertainment.

They allow their children to set their own time limits for the games and the children become addicted to them.

Parents and not the regulation of online games can prevent children from harm.

Hoang Moc Lan, Vietnamese psychologist, HCM City

The latest studies show that when young people become addicted to online games they become reckless, quick to anger and ready to fight people. They also become mentally unstable.

This springs from the contradiction between their virtual life in the online games and reality.

In the online games they can define their own personality.

It means that online games are as dangerous as drugs or alcohol and should be managed in the same way.

The relevant authorities should carefully study the games before granting them a licence.

Well qualified staff are essential for this job.

Ryu Hashimoto, Japanese, Binh Duong

Many criminal acts have supposedly been committed in Japan by persons - not only the young - infected by violent and sexual video-games or on-line-games.

But I don't think so.

Violent and sexual games can spark a crime but I believe one reason for juvenile delinquency is lack of communication between the young and their elders.

I think it's important to regulate and control games that have a harmful influence but this is difficult to do when some adults are not worried about playing violent and sexual games in front of the young.

We have to consider how to create more time to communicate with our children.

When I was a schoolboy, I took part in sports club activities every day after school and had no time to think about sex or violence.

At home, I always communicated with my mother and told her about the day. Later, I did my homework and went to bed.

In Viet Nam, I don't have video games and don't use internet in my home. After 5pm, I return home as quickly as possible to spend time with my son.

Ha Hien Nhan, San Diego, USA

Dang Tuan Dung of Ha Noi's Gia Lam District killed his aunt because he is mentally ill. His brutal act had nothing to do with online or computer games. One clue to his mental illness is obvious: Most twenty-six-year-old Vietnamese men do not play computer games. They have other activities like drinking with friends, dating girlfriends, watching soccer

Dung is probably a loner, a withdrawn person, a person with hidden intense anger, that needs to be institutionalised.

Therefore, banning or restricting online or computer games will not make a bad citizen good or good citizen bad and is a waste of time.

Nguyen Viet Dung, Vietnamese, Ha Nam

The only reason for supporting online games is that they bring millions of dollar into the country every year.

But their harm to young people is incalculable.

I used to spend 8 to 10 hours a day playing games.

Many friends say that they can limit the time of playing by themselves but in my experience this is impossible. Gamers stop only when they became exhausted or hungry.

The time gamers can play should be limited.

For example, if the maximum playing time is set at three hours, the account will be closed when that limit is reached.

Regulations governing online games management should force the providers to obey this rule.

The advertising of online games in the mass media should, just like cigarettes, be banned.

Kyaw Lwin Myint, Burmese, Tokyo

Computers play a major role in shaping the future of children and while online games surely impact their minds, they also help them improve their recursive and proactive thinking; increase their sociability and improve their interpretative skills.

Some psychologists and parents argue that the games prevent children from developing their physical and social skills and can be even more addictive than TV.

People often think that increased game usage means increased depression, alienation, and loss of sense of community.

Abuse always has undesirable consequences.

So parents should guide their children as to when and how long they should play online games.

Then it will not be necessary to forbid them.

-Viet Nam News

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