Computer games, internet addiction on the rise


From anecdotal evidence, I sense some parents are battling to curb their children’s long hours of computer usage that prevent them from leading a balanced life-style.

Take a walk on the streets and you can see the video games centres of the 1990s have given way to large dimly lit computer games centres. Inside, row upon row of young people wearing headphones, sit glued to computer monitors, many of them engrossed in violent games.

I took a look at some young teenagers playing a computer games and was shocked to see how violent and gruesome some of these games can be. When a sniper or commando shoots a human target, the “blood” even splatters on the view-finder displayed on the screen. In another game, the “hero” races down the road on a motorcycle until he reaches the side of a moving car. Then he pulls opens the door of the car, throws the driver out and takes control of the vehicle.

In one such centre in Penang, a six-year-old girl, her legs still unable to reach the floor, was deftly manipulating the controls to a computer game.

How do we expect children and teenagers to draw the line between the violence of the virtual world and acceptable behaviour in real life? Does it not worry us that such explicit violence is being normalised and internalised subconciously?

At home, many teens and children are glued to their desktops, laptops or smartphones and hardly get much exercise (of course, our outdoor recreational spaces have been dwindling as well), much less have time for their family and friends. As internet social networking savvy improves, so too does real-life social interaction suffer.

Are schools teaching impressionable young minds how to use technology appropriately, setting guidelines on limits for computer usage, and warning pupils and parents about the dangers of violent computer games? Are there counselling sessions for children and parent support groups?

What role do parents have to play? and how do they go about it when they are usually out working to put food on the table? Increasingly, parents find it difficult to impose and enforce limits as certain schools give homework that requires pupils to research their work online. Some of them open a few tabs and flip between their homework and other sites or computer games, resulting in long hours online.

What’s your experience? Do you think this is a serious problem among the youth (and not a few adults as well)? Or is it just a passing phase which they will hopefully outgrow?

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Maybe we should also get Jeff Ooi’s views on this. He very silent these days eh? I wonder why…


Even in in China, there are age limits for admission into internet cafes.

But here in Penang, even a preschool kid is allowed. Lim Guan Eng, you have a teen yourself. What do you say?

Gerakan K

Play masak-masak instead.

p/s: Old folks never understand the young minds

semuanya OK kot

This is related to the expansion of the workforce to include women and the accompanying stagnation of wages. This resulted in a net drop in family earnings over decades. Why do you think people are now protesting wherever they have the freedom to do so?. This impoverishment in the guise of progress came with lack of child care and the use of subsitute means to keep children occupied. “For more than 50 years, behavioural data have suggested that media violence induces violent behaviour in the observers, meaning that our rational autonomy is much more limited than we like to think.… Read more »


From my personal experience and that of zillions of living creatures since primordial times, all sentient beings are attracted to pleasure and repulsed by pain. All pleasurable experiences are addictive – whether approved or disapproved by collective opinion. When allowed to run their course with minimal or no interference, addictions eventually phase themselves out (try drinking a whole barrel of beer at one sitting or eating 10 durians and you will know what I mean).However, when external authority attempts to regulate or forbid such behavior, the results are invariably far more negative. For example: by banning certain substances, a black… Read more »

Phua Kai Lit

Aljazeera’s programme on Internet addiction in South Korea.

Mesti tonton!


Let you in a secret. Games designers, especially the Koreans, employed psychologists in the team to apply the scientific principles of addiction in the design of computer games. Now you find why computer games are so addictive.

The only way to solve the problem is to hit the off button.


Sad to see the young generation do not read as the time is spent on computer games. The government must ban the promotion of ‘free on-line games’ at shopping centres. Free start-up DVDs are given, but the addicted player may have to pay on-line down the road to purchase ‘special accessories/weapon’ in order to advance to the next level of the game. Nowadays young parents even let their young kids as young as 3 to pay Angry Bird on Iphone – such initiation to computer games is the beginning of addiction. Parents must play their role to educate their kids… Read more »


It’s the gambling mechanic. There’s no mysterious voodoo behind it. It’s about trying to get players on a loot high(ie waiting for the next cool thing that is dropped). Would you allow a kid to go to genting highlands casino and gamble away their cash? The problem with trying to enforce some sort of measure to curb medium such as these is the fact that NOT EVERYONE gets dangerously addicted to them. Of course, none of these games were ever meant to be played by youngsters in the first place…well..except some… which require parent supervision. The problem is that most… Read more »


People who promote horrific internet/video games have blood one their hands.


As a gamer, I have to pitch in my thoughts. Video games have not been proven to cause violent behavior. There’s ratings on games just like movies. The whole idea of underaged kids playing games not meant for them is no different than underaged kids watching M rated movies. Parents, friends are all a big factor. Games are just another form of entertainment. There is no difference between them and any other entertainment. The whole idea that it is immersive hence more dangerous is a myth and has never been proven to be correct. Sick people need help…regardless whether they… Read more »


Sorry, but i beg to differ. This is the latest and most devastating results of computer games. I bet the people of Oslo who lost their children are not shouting out about the benefits of computer games. Excerpts From Wikipedia: “On July 22, 2011 in Oslo and Utøya, Norway, 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik shot and killed 69 people on the island Utøya and also planted a bomb in the centre of Oslo, which killed 8 people, Breivik had been planning the attack for 9 years and claimed that he had used Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 as a “Training-Simulation”.… Read more »


These shootings have not been conclusively attributed to video games. They are the work of youth that have serious mental problems. It’s really easy to make video games the scape goat and fail to actually address the trouble youths. I don’t see every gamer out there going to school and having a murderous rampage. Same things with violent movies. Heck there’s been shootings that has been styled after many gangster flicks/ heist film(such as HEAT). You don’t see people blame movies for them though. Video games are the new hotness and it’s easy for the media to make it the… Read more »