[Letter to the editor]A clear and present danger

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[Letter to the editor]A clear and present danger

If somebody tells you, “Don’t give Korean children any time to think. The best way to do this is to let them play video games and get rid of their potential for empathy and imagination,” it sounds really awful. But this horrible situation is happening now in this country.
Thanks to the fast development of technology, our children are exposed to visual entertainment 24 hours a day. They watch TV and movies at home and use the Internet and computers at home and at school. They even play video games while walking.
I think our youths’ minds and bodies are at risk. Students hooked on video games and the Internet too much cannot do well at school, and the lack of socializing makes it difficult for them to get along with their families and friends.
Some even steal money from their parents to pay the hourly fees at Internet cafes to play games. Some even play hooky for days.
There are many root causes behind this serious problem, including easy access to highly developed technologies, working parents who cannot be with them after school and not many viable alternative outlets for stress.
According to the Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity and Promotion, about 14 percent of Korean youths aged 9 to 19 are at risk of Internet and game addiction.
About 70 percent of those youths actually suffer physical problems, academic failure and deteriorating relationship with their families.
And our government doesn’t do anything about it. I am deeply disturbed by the horrible conditions of some Internet cafes. Most are located underground with poor ventilation and thick clouds of cigarette smoke.
That is why I began a signature campaign for a healthy environment in Internet cafes.
I demand that the government change this environment immediately and create a sound culture where our youths can spend time developing their sense and sensibility.
Kim Jong-sam, legal affairs coordinator, Gangnam District Office
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