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No place for gaming-addicted students in Chinese dorm life

2018-01-10 19:56     财经     来自:环球时报GlobalTimes

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT



A college in Shenyang that banned its entire student body from playing computer games made headlines for its controversial policy. Starting in January, the school said that students may no longer log on to gaming sites via its campus internet server between 11 pm and 6 am, Sunday through Thursday, to ensure that "they get enough rest and have enough energy for the next day's studies."

The new regulation was met with polarized feedback from Chinese netizens. While supporters said the policy will benefit those who don't play computer games from being interrupted by those who do, netizens against the decision claim that students should be left on their own to decide how to arrange their time wisely. Some even pointed out that this regulation may accidentally benefit net cafes near the campus.

For me personally, this regulation is necessary in guaranteeing the good health and studious atmosphere required at a Chinese university. However, more action should also be taken to address the root of the problem, which is young people's addiction to gaming. 

The policy seems acceptable to me personally, as it only forbids students from playing computer games at a time when any reasonable person should be asleep. There's even a Chinese term, "xiuxian," which means trying to be immortal, meant to tease those who stay up late.

Night owls are particularly common at Chinese universities, as youth who spent their childhood studying and preparing for the dreaded gaokao (national college entrance examination) are finally free to live life as they choose upon arriving at university.

A recent survey of Chinese college students across the nation shows that more students are postponing their sleep in order to play computer games or use electronic devices. Over 40 percent of the students surveyed do not go to bed until well after midnight.

Additionally, around 40 percent of those same students suffer from poor sleep quality and low energy during the day, which obviously has a huge negative impact on their mental state and study efficiency.

This can lead to more serious consequences and sometimes even fatal tragedies. Last November, a 20-year-old gamer was found dead in his bed after staying up all night for several months in a row just to play on live-streaming game sites. 

The regulation can also help maintain a harmonious dormitory living environment. In China, dorm rooms are often shared by four, six or even eight students. A national survey revealed that over 70 percent of Chinese students experience disagreements and disputes with their roommates due to differing sleep patterns and nighttime routines. 

If just one student in a six-person dormitory stays up late to play games, for example, the other students will suffer from lower sleep quality due to the noise and lights. I personally experienced this back when I was a university student, as my night-owl roommates often played their computer games until 2 am. I was utterly miserable!

Dormitories are supposed to provide a quiet space for students to rest after a long day of classes and studying. This ought to be a fundamental right of campus life and should supersede any recreational activities. Just as indoor smoking has been banned at Chinese college campuses, gaming likewise should be banned from dormitories.

However, regulations alone cannot solve this problem. Electronic games are an unhealthy addiction that stems directly from a person's own mental state. Just like how certain types of people easily become addicted to binge-watching TV programs, online shopping or watching live-streaming hostesses, computer gaming also preys on addictive personalities.

The lesson Chinese colleges need to pass on to their students is that self-control will help make them better citizens and, thus, help them make better decisions throughout life.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Global Times.