China Working To "Fix" Internet Addiction, Whatever That Means

The verdict on internet addiction as an real disorder in the West has yet to come. But in China, internet addiction is treated like a real thing. That's why China's Ministry of Culture is looking for a way to combat it.

Over the weekend, the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Culture's Business department, Tuo Zuhai, spoke at the 11th China International Digital Content Expo in Beijing about the fight against Internet addiction in China. According to People's Daily, Tuo talked about what steps the Ministry of Culture had taken against Internet addiction. In early August, the MoC created a method for "internet and cultural business management"

Tuo also revealed that the MoC compiled a series of guidelines for internet related businesses and game companies to adhere to that would go into effect on December 1. So far, little has been revealed about these guidelines and what they entail. Tuo stated that the next step for the MoC was to create a training center for psychiatrists for the treatment of internet addiction and that they would hold a training expo in Hunan province later this year.

In his presentation, Tuo said this course was necessary because of the dangers related to online games, adding online games contained the dangers of violence. According to him, the issue of video game inspired violence was an issue with society and that the MoC had gone so far as to enlist the Central China Normal University to do a study on violence and video games.

To date, the MoC has created six different ways to help find a way to curb Internet addiction.

  • 1) Creating a self-audit system for the Chinese Internet and online gaming industry
  • 2) Establishing a monitoring and evaluation of violent video games
  • 3) Advancing China's Internet infrastructure
  • 4) Creating better safeguards for Youth to prevent Internet addiction
  • 5) Improving management of Internet cafes
  • 6) Creating a better cultural supervision platform for video games and Internet content.

While I'm still not sold on internet addiction and the correlation between video games and violence, I can't find too much fault with points number three and five. China's internet speeds are dismal at best. What's more, Chinese Internet cafes need to be better managed and cleaned out of the problems that surround them.

However, the other points that the MoC is bringing up scares me. More monitoring and evaluation of video games could mean fewer games get published in China. It could also lead to more self-censorship that might prevent the creation of something great. Of course, this is all conjecture and maybe some of these proposals by the MoC never come into fruition. We shall see.

庹祖海:青少年网瘾问题需要多方共同努力 [People's Daily]

Photo: pcruciatti / Shutterstock.com

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian Internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Eric is a Beijing based writer and all around FAT man. You can contact him @FatAsianTechie@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @FatAsianTechie.