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Multiple addictions threaten people at different ages

A recent survey indicates that more than 40 percent of teenagers have strong impulse for accessing the internet while failing to keep themselves from overuse despite being aware of the potential harms.


In the context of ubiquitous technologies, adolescent internet addiction has drawn attention from all of society. Web-based games, socializing, live streaming, pornography, and information collection all can be considered causes of addiction. Of these, online games have the largest impacts while the booming short video apps have caught up from the behind. The live streaming industry is also a relevant factor.


A recent survey indicates that more than 40 percent of teenagers have strong impulse for accessing the internet while failing to keep themselves from overuse despite being aware of the potential harms. Nearly 20 percent of students play video games every day. It is estimated that about 40 percent of school age teens have potential risks of internet addiction. This problem has become a major hidden danger to the healthy development of Chinese adolescents.


In this context, recent news came at the right time—the Ministry of Education recently issued an urgent notice, calling on relevant departments to prevent students from internet addictions. However, teens are still exposed to the internet’s harms and these regulations lag behind the explosive growth and diversity of digital products. The restrictions, filled with similar models to past laws, with all the associated bureaucratic elements, fail to tackle new features of the internet. They find it more difficult to confront companies’ immense business incentives as well as teenagers’ curiosity for the internet and emerging products.


From the perspectives of education and society, we should respect the characteristics of internet users, but we can’t turn a blind eye to the urgent situation in which citizens particularly teenagers, overlook the negative effects of the internet while having no intention and capability to deal with the associated addictions.


University students have more money and free time. The internet’s negative impacts on them are no smaller than the effects on primary and secondary school students. Meanwhile, campuses frequently see cases of internet fraud and loan fraud. As grown internet users, adults are also the victims of internet addiction. In many cases, these people are unable to engage in truly immersive reading and choose instead to quickly sample online information even though they have strong ability to learn and adapt. They allow themselves to indulged in large-scale games and short video clips as well as purchasing expensive virtual gifts for live-streaming hosts. Without great expectations and an academic burden, these adults are too vulnerable to change.
 

Therefore, people need to have a clear awareness of the various addictions and free themselves from all these restrictions as quickly as possible. Important and treasurable values in life do deserve greater attention.

 

The article is translated from the China Youth Daily.

(edited by MA YUHONG)


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