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Efforts needed to tackle with Internet-related juvenile delinquency
( 2003-08-27 10:24) (CRIENGLISH.com)

Chinese police are reporting a rising number of crimes committed by youngsters at internet caf¨¦s. Experts are calling for urgent efforts by concerned social sectors to crack down on illegal internet caf¨¦ operations and better tackle the crime problem.

Ning Yan: The Internet can be a source of helpful information in life and work, but it can also be a bad influence, especially for the minors, with all sorts of violent games, a large amount of garbage, unhealthy information and vulgar chat-rooms.

A recent survey shows crimes committed by minors affected by "virtual reality" rose to 25 percent of all crimes committed by juveniles in the first three months of this year. In comparison, the figure for three years ago was only 4 percent.

In Shanghai, there was a recent case of such juvenile delinquency.

17-year-old Zhou is a frequent visitor to internet caf¨¦s, and was arrested by police on charges of stealing 6,000 yuan from a student at an internet caf¨¦ during the summer holiday.

The victim of the robbery is only 14 years old. He was with a friend who had just stolen his parents' savings account book, which contained about 10,000 yuan. A local public prosecutor says like the two boys, many of those who visit internet caf¨¦s are under the age of 18, despite the current regulations.

"Youngsters are not allowed to visit the internet caf¨¦s except during holidays."

China's lawmakers also say despite government crackdowns on illegal Internet cafes and games rooms, going online and the immersion in uncensored material have become an ever more important factor leading to juvenile delinquency in the country.

Many youngsters say owners of internet don't bother checking their ID cards before allowing them to enter. On the other hand, internet caf¨¦s are continuing to operate round the clock even though current regulations say they can only open between 8 am and midnight.

Sociologists believe a lack of computer entertainment facilities at home and school is a big reason why youngsters enjoy visiting internet caf¨¦s.

"This is a problem that internet caf¨¦ operators, families, schools and the government need to tackle together. We should communicate. Confiscating licenses and closing down internet caf¨¦s is not enough."

Experts are also suggesting the use of automatic monitoring systems such as camera surveillance to keep youngsters out of internet caf¨¦s and make sure owners operate within legal business hours.

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