Michael Lerner

Wednesday - Feb 23, 2011

Internet cafe in HCMCVietnamese kids, like their peers around the world, can’t seem to get enough of online gaming. In a recent survey, students rated it as their top form of entertainment.

As an emerging nation, most households don’t have computers or Internet access, so gamers go to Internet shops to rent a machine by the hour. Many of them are located close to  schools, adding temptation.

A survey conducted by the Ministry of education found that 82% of students visit Internet cafes between one and six times a week; 14% go eight times a week.

While some students frequent the stores during their lunch hour, many go at night. According to Van Nhu Cuong, the headmaster of Luong The Vinh Private High School, “Online games and their harmful effects are considered social evil at schools.” Now the government has decided to get tough on this growing problem.

Starting next month, Internet service providers will be required to block access to games from 10 PM to 8 AM. As you might expect, the gaming industry has complained that the late-night ban penalizes adult customers. But will it also encourage kids to cut school so they can play during the day? We’ll see how this tech savvy generation thwarts the will of the People’s Committee. My bet is on the students.