A couple of days a go we mentioned that South Korea’s youth have become video game zombies – the nation is troubled. What an inconvenience democracy is: look what China was able to do about its digital concerns:
- China has barred minors from going into Internet cafes, issuing new rules on Friday to govern the shops hugely popular for video games and Web services but blamed by state media for poisoning the minds of urban youth.
The regulations, reported by the official Xinhua news agency, came four months after a fire at a Beijing cybercafe killed 25 people — mostly students — locked inside and shocked the nation’s leaders.
The new rules also prevent the construction of cybercafes within 650 feet of elementary and middle schools, said Xinhua’s Web site .
Offenders risk a fine of up to $1,800 and may have their operating licenses canceled, Xinhua said. It said Web cafes now could only operate between the hours of 8 a.m. and midnight.
China forced thousands of Internet cafes across the country to close for inspection in a drive to clean up the unregulated industry after the June blaze. Two juveniles were later sentenced to life in prison for lighting the fire.
In the wake of the fire, state media printed volumes of commentary and letters from angry parents across the country, some of whom claimed their children had become “zombies” who wasted their time and money in cybercafes and video game parlors.
Obviously, the cybercafes should be licensed and regulated and not be prone to incinerating people, but barring minors entirely seems to me to be tackling an unspoken issue rather than the one at hand.