Date
22 October 2017
Chinese children face enormous pressure to excel in school, driving many of them to addiction in online games. Photo: Xinhua
Chinese children face enormous pressure to excel in school, driving many of them to addiction in online games. Photo: Xinhua

Kids’ online game addiction reveals social issues in China

Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings (00700.HK) suffered a 4.1 percent slump in its share price on Monday, losing over HK$100 billion in market capitalization in a single day.

The selloff came after People’s Daily, the Communist Party of China’s official mouthpiece, called the company’s most popular online game, King of Glory, a “poison” to young people.

Chinese youngsters’ addiction in video games reflects a number of social issues.

First of all, most children face enormous pressure to achieve better grades in school. 

Most of them are the only child in the family, which is why the entire family has high expectations of them, and with expectations comes pressure.

They don’t have siblings so they don’t have many playmates. Many cities are dominated by migrant families; neighbors don’t have much connection with one another.

Meanwhile, unlike here in Hong Kong, there are very few community service groups or non-government organizations in China that organize activities for young people.

The shortage of facilities for young people is another problem.

Apart from first-tier municipalities, most Chinese cities still lack public leisure facilities such as swimming pools, sports grounds and stadiums.

This lack of channels and places to release the pressure they feel from their studies has led many youngsters to indulge in online games.

In that sense, Chinese authorities should not just tighten rules for the gaming industry by not allowing kids to spend too much time and money on online games, but also create more facilities and organize more activities for them.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 5

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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RT/CG

Hong Kong Economic Journal columnist

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