Date of this Version
2011 in The China Beat http://www.thechinabeat.org/
With 300 million people playing Internet games in China, the question of how these games affect youth has captured the attention of the public and researchers alike. I first became interested in studying online gaming in 2002 when, as a language student in Harbin, China, I discovered the extent to which playing online games in Internet cafés had become a central part of social life for many urban youth. However, like any new technology, the growing popularity of games has also sparked growing fears about their potential to negatively impact society. In recent years the Chinese media has been full of horror stories: adults committing crimes of passion over in-game items and affairs, young boys dropping dead from sitting in front of computer screens for 72 hours straight, high school students blowing off the college entrance exam (高考) to spend time in local Internet cafés, the list goes on. Elsewhere, I have analyzed the root causes and possible effects of this media moral panic (find the youtube video and article here).