Internet indispensable for young people
Updated: 2005-11-20 11:26
Getting up, turning on the computer, cleaning his face, brushing teeth,
logging on to MSN and QQ (on-line chatting tools). These are steps 20-year-old
Xiao Lin follows every morning.
"I can't imagine a life without the Internet," said Lin, a junior of
Southwest University of Finance and Economics of China.
A recent survey, conducted by the Social Survey Center of China Youth Daily,
shows that the Internet has become something indispensable in the daily lives of
Chinese urban residents, particularly the younger ones.
Some 19 percent of the 4,032 respondents said the Internet "can take the
place of everything."
The Internet has flourished in China since 1995, when the first Internet cafe
appeared in Beijing. China now has the second largest number of Internet users
in the world.
Statistics from China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) show that
by July this year the total number of Internet users in China reached 103
In a recent report on the influence of the Internet on China, Guo Liang, an
associate researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, observes that
there is great difference in the usage of the Internet between China and western
Guo, a renowned expert in the comparative study of the Internet,says in his
report: "The Internet functions mainly as an 'information expressway' in western
countries. People there use Internet mostly to search for information and to
send or receive emails."
"But the Chinese people use it (the Internet) mainly for entertainment. That
might explain why some Chinese people think itcan take the place of everything."
Guo published his report on Internet usage and influence in five cities July
this year. The report shows that entertainment-related functions are frequently
used, only after reading news and browsing.
About 62.2 percent of the Chinese netizens often play games online, 56.5
percent often download music and 53.5 percent download entertainment information
from the Internet, according to Guo's report.
A university student in Beijing also described that he was totally lost
during those days when the Internet failed in his university. "I was going
crazy," he recalled.
And when the network was restored, he and many of his schoolmates stayed up
all night to play Warcraft, a popular on-line game. He admitted that he might be
"addicted" to the Internet.
Like the university boy, 90 percent of the Chinese young people play on-line
games frequently, according to Guo's report.
Guo defines Internet addiction as the strong reliance on the Internet which
can lead to various psychological problems if one is denied access to the
Internet for a long time.
Guo said that personal character might be the main reason for Internet
addiction, though there are other factors like age, gender and education.
"Internet addiction is very complex. It can only be discussed by taking
personal character into consideration," Guo explained.
Research shows that jumpy and passive people are most likely to rely heavily
on the Internet. On the contrary, people won't rely on the Internet if they are
just and self-reserved.
"It won't work by criticizing young people for getting addicted to the
Internet. The key is to help them know the real benefits ofthe Internet, such as
the convenient search for useful information,which are more important than the
functions of games and chatting," Guo said.
According to Guo's analysis, entertainment will remain the main function of
the Internet for the Chinese people. "This won't change as new netizens are
emerging every year. They will be attracted by its entertainment content in the
first several years of their on-line experience."