In present-day society, with the Internet technologies developing rapidly, video games have assumed an increasingly crucial role in people’s lives. Admittedly, video games may attract lots of people, and gaming industry has achieved a good success. However, there are many problems with video games such as game addiction of China’s youth and the utilitarian behaviors of the game companies so that it is important to reinforce the regulation of video games.
The most severe problem caused by video games is gaming addiction, especially for China’s youth. “The youth of China are the most plugged-in, an alarming statistics shows that 42% report feeling addicted to the video games, according to Dr. Tao, who set up China’s first Internet addiction clinic at the Military General Hospital in Beijing” (Dubois). Addiction is an appropriate word to describe those game players who immerse themselves in the virtual world of video games and cannot control themselves. “Long-term Internet addiction would result in brain structural alterations, which probably contributed to chronic dysfunction” (Dubois). “People’s Daily reported a 14-year-old boy who died after a four storey fall due to hallucinations brought on by his obsession with the popular video game Legend.” (Dubois). Also, other similar tragedies happened because of the addiction. According to China Daily and The Guardian, two Chinese teenagers from different places committed suicide by jumping from buildings after playing World of War Craft (WOW) for dozens of hours (Dubois). Therefore, it is apparent from these facts that China is facing a problem of gaming addiction.
Moreover, the problems are also caused by the utilitarian gaming industry. Game companies are utilitarian that they do not consider the effect that their games will bring to the players but just care about their profit. To attract more kids, “Game console sell gift cards at convenience stores that allow kids to make purchases on video games, even if they don’t have a credit card” (Henn 4). This will make some kids play video games without their parents’ permission and may even cause addiction and family conflicts. Henn states “Researchers in game companies tweak games to get players to stay on longer, or to encourage them to spent money on digital goods” (2) and “the idea is to make gamers uncomfortable, frustrate them, take away their powers, crush their forts—and then, at the last second, offer them a way out for a price” (3). Young players may not have ability to make money, but they spend more and more “virtual currency (paid for with real cash)” (Clendenin) to get the latest and best virtual gaming equipment, which may even cause crimes. People’s Daily reported that a 19-year-old college student stole 20,000 RMB at school in order to pay for the expensive virtual commodities in his favorite video game. Thus, unethical behaviors of gaming industry are also serious problems to solve.
Regulations on video games may help to alleviate the severe situation. But to eradicate these problems, the Chinese government must have regulations that are powerful enough. Although the Chinese government has already built up some regulations on video games, these regulations may be not sufficient. In April 2007, the Chinese government introduced some regulations to deal with such situation. It introduced an anti-addiction system that required the players register with their real name and ID number and will limit the time players spend in their virtual world (Clendenin).
“There is also a total ban on minors handling virtual currency, used by many online games” (Clendenin). The system indeed prevents players from overindulging in online games to some extent. However, the system is not as effective as expected since players just turn to other games after limited hours or they use fake registration information and change it frequently. Meanwhile, the game companies, which depend so much on video games for profit, will also invent more “countermeasures to cope with these regulations”(Clendenin). So if these regulations have no supporting measures, they may well become an ineffective attempt to solve these complicated issues. Hence, in order to eradicate the problems caused by video games, the Chinese government should have more powerful regulations on video games.
To sum up, video games now indeed have caused serious problems for China’s youth. After knowing the reasons for the problems, to deal with such situation, reinforcing the regulation of video games is essential to help solve the rigorous problems in China.
“Multitasking After 60: Video Game Boosts Focus, Mental Agility.” Shots. Writ. Jon Hamilton. NPR, 4 Sept. 2013. Radio.
“Video Game Creators Are Using Apps To Teach Empathy.” All Tech Consider. Writ. Steven Henn. NPR, 20 Nov. 2013. Radio
“How Video Games Are Getting Inside Your Head—And Wallet.” All Tech Consider. Writ. Steven Henn. NPR, 29 Oct. 2013. Radio
Zhang, Zeoy. “Has China’s Online Gaming Addiction Become an Epidemic?” The Diplomat. The Diplomat, 4 Oct. 2013. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.
Clendenin, Mike. “China Tightens Online Gaming Regulations.” InformationWeek. N. p., 25 June 2010. Web. 20 Mar 2014
Dubois, Matthew. “Log in, sign out.” The World of Chinese. N. p., 9 Mar 2013. Web. 20 Mar 2014