Editorial by Andrew Chan
China has become one of the first countries in the world to recognise internet addiction officially as a clinical condition. Hundreds of special camps have opened across the country, to help young people overcome their web dependence. In 2011, a Chinese man died after internet gaming for three days straight…Mr Ran [Director of China’s Youth Rehabilitation Base for digital detox] said the problem with a lot of the teenagers who enter the program live with very controlling parents who manage all areas of the child’s life — including food, studies, and even friends…The parents that don’t…are at the other end of the spectrum — and tend to almost ignore their child, run a business and leave them alone or with grandparents.
“[With] both these cases the result is the same — the children don’t believe in themselves,” Mr Ran said. “Why do they get so immersed in the internet? Because there they are heroes who are in control and that feels real. ‘What I can’t get at home, I get on the web.’”
Mr Ran said ‘blame’ and ‘resentment’ were two of the biggest emotions felt by new teenagers who were admitted into the program, and that for the first month, the children hated the parents and the staff at the camp equally [some were tricked into rehab]. – news.com.au, 8/6/2016
It is truly tragic that so many children and young adults, from both the East and the West, are so deeply addicted to console and online gaming. An article on kidspot.com.au titled ‘Is my son addicted to gaming?’ states that ‘The games are designed to be as compelling as possible. They are literally designed to trap and compel our children to play and play and play.’ I confess that I have felt the bite of this before — and the only way out, as for any addiction, is to never play again (playing ‘in moderation’ is often not a realistic option).
We should not believe the lies that we must believe in ourselves and that we are in control of our destiny. A healthy self-esteem is good, but when we become so focussed on what we want, what we can achieve, what we can get out of this life, and think that we know what is really best for us, then we deceive ourselves. Just as it is stunting to our growth to be smothered on one hand or given total freedom on the other, so it is unwise to accept complete control of our lives. It is important to know the direction of our lives, and there are many decisions and choices that we have to make daily, but let us never forget Who should be in control of our destinies. We should stop blaming others for ‘spoiling our fun’ or not getting what we want, and take responsibility for being led astray.
We are commanded to ‘no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more’ (Eph 4:17-19). Instead, we are exhorted ‘to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness’ (Eph 4:22-24).