Being largest Internet user , no big deal
Comment on You Nuo's column "Net not yet best bet for most Chinese" (July 28, 2008)
China now has 253 million netizens, which means the country has replaced the United States as the largest Internet user in the world. This is according to a latest report issued by the CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center).
But the newly released report also points out that the coverage rate of Internet-users is only 19.1 percent, which is lower than the world's average.
What does No 1 mean?
The report shows that China keeps witnessing dramatic increases in the netizens' number. Compared with the corresponding period of 2007, the netizens' number in the country has soared by 91 million, the biggest leap in recent years.
But in my view, the No 1 matters little and doesn't mean a great deal.
Asked what you are going to do while surfing the Internet, an American would like to respond "I am going to get some valuable information helpful for my work and life and check some maps". For a Frenchman, he would use the Internet to write his blogs.
Many Chinese netizens spend much time on on-line chatting and playing online games that offer low value but pose huge potential risks.
Anyway, China has fetched a latest world's No 1, and maybe the TV news programs will give a slot to report this "exciting" story.
In my opinion, what should be reported is the significance of this new No 1 and how to guide the populous country to a right track for using this currently most helpful tool of information.
Few stories about foreigners' Internet addiction have been reported, however, in our country. Such stories are frequently available on the Internet as well as on the mass media.
A couple of years ago, a TV news story entitled "Offer winter clothes for a boy's return", that got the top journalistic prize in China, was the first of its kind that was widely carried by the media and aroused the attention of the authorities.
The story spoke of a teenager from a Northeastern province who fell in love with Internet games and got so addicted to it that he failed to pay his internet-surfing bills. And the boy dared not go home and stayed in an Internet caf over several nights. His parents tried every means to search for their missing son and finally got him with the help of the local police and paid the bill in exchange for a pair of winter clothes that the boy used as Internet surfing collaterals.
Since then, a series of monitoring measures have come into being. But these changed little as the Internet has great magic to those young people who are unable to bring themselves under control.
Currently, most of the Internet regulations ignored the aspect of controlling the huge number of addicts among the netizens.
The newly announced report also says that high school students or people with equivalent schooling levels account for 39 percent of the total Chinese netizens, which is the lion's share compared with other segments.
This deserves the attention of the authorities.
The figure means it needs great efforts to clean up the Internet environment as the young who know little about the society and lack necessary capabilities to tell what is true and what is false take up the biggest share.
Internet is a good thing, but you need to know how to make it better serve you. Here this duty is up to the governments. We wish that Internet-related crimes would disappear,and at least the trend should be controlled.
Li Yanqing, Harbin
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(China Daily 07/30/2008 page9)