[Letters] Refocus effort for poor children
Regarding an April 16 article, “Poor kids face ill effects from computer games,” my opinion is that the government only looked at the surface of the problem and didn’t think adequately about what the children urgently needed, [focusing only on] its ultimate purpose of educating them to be good members of the community.
First, what disadvantaged kids really need is quality food. Some of them get free meals from local children’s centers and social welfare centers when they are not at school. However, with the current economic crisis, the number of poor kids is rising drastically, and the government’s budget is not enough to care for all the children on welfare and those just above the welfare line, according to the Health Ministry. The government needs to check more on this point.
Also, these children need counseling more than better-off children. As mentioned in the article, they often do not have caregivers at home, and they are more prone to depression, not having the kind of environment that children need. Even children in better circumstances can have a hard time breaking addiction to computers; in the case of disadvantaged children, the chances must be higher they would get addicted to computers when they rely on them to relieve depression. Obviously, what they need is not computers but someone to talk to about their stressful lives and to motivate them.
Lastly, education plays a very important role in shaping what children can become, even more than material things. “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” This saying explains how important education is. “To narrow the information technology gap between the haves and have-nots” would never work if the government just gives computers away. If they want to use computers in a positive way, it will be better that these children get educational programs to learn how to use computers properly (at school or in libraries). In addition, children need more indoor or outdoor activities to get physically and mentally healthy rather than spending time on computers.
As the government tries to provide second-hand computers to poor kids, I hope officials realize the main purpose of the effort and change the direction to focus on what these needy children desperately need to grow into better adults in our society.
Kwak Yon-shin, Gyeonggi Province