China Discovering The Futility Of Banning Internet Cafes
from the hello,-speakeasy dept
It's no secret that the Chinese government has something of an uncomfortable relationship with the internet. It wants to allow the internet for the sake of economic growth in the country, but is deathly afraid of people using it for anything government officials don't like. That explains the huge bureaucracy employed to help "censor" the internet -- even if they don't want to call it censorship. A second issue the government has been trying to deal with is internet cafes -- which many in the government believe leads to internet addiction. One local official apparently went so far as to ban all internet cafes in his region. While there are parents who are thrilled about this and say what a great thing it is that the cafes are banned, they're all fooling themselves. Pretty soon after the cafes were banned most reopened as underground internet cafes. That's right, it's like the speakeasies of Prohibition in the US. What's funny about this is how it highlights the difference between thinking you've done a good thing and what actually happens. While government officials (and some parents quoted in the article) think the ban is helping to protect their children, it's actually doing the opposite. The underground cafes are a lot less likely to pay heed to any other rules that make sure they're safe -- and the children get less (if any) instruction on how to use the internet constructively, rather than in a damaging manner. Without that guidance, it seems a lot more likely that they'll end up having problems than if they were simply instructed on the potential risks of being online and put in a safe environment.