China Daily (USA) - - CHINA -

i Keyan loves surf­ing the in­ter­net, even though the amount of time he spends online sparks fre­quent ar­gu­ments with his mother.

“I en­joy learn­ing and search­ing cy­berspace for in­for­ma­tion about the things I’mmost in­ter­ested in, such as basketball, but my mom is un­happy when­ever I stare at my smart­phone for a few hours,” said the 12-year-old pri­mary stu­dent from Haicheng, a city in Liaon­ing prov­ince in north­east­ern China.

Re­cent re­ports sug­gest that Ji is not alone, and most chil­dren his age go online reg­u­larly.

A re­port pub­lished by the China In­ter­netNet­work In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter in July found that about 25 per­cent of China’s 710 mil­lion in­ter­net users are age 19 or younger.

The re­port said the num­ber of chil­dren age 10 or younger who reg­u­larly surf the net ex­ceeds 20 mil­lion, and the age at which young­sters are ac­cess­ing the in­ter­net is fall­ing.

Tong Zongke, who works at a col­lege in Bei­jing, said his 6-year-old son of­ten uses his mo­bile phone to play games online.

“The boy has no aware­ness of what the in­ter­net is, but he has shown a pas­sion for it, and has mas­tered many mo­bile skills,” said Tong, who has set up a pass­word on his phone to en­sure that his son can’t use it with­out his per­mis­sion.

A sur­vey con­ducted in June by Qi­hoo 360, China’s largest provider of se­cu­rity soft­ware, said online games were the most pop­u­lar web-based ac­tiv­i­ties for school stu­dents.

Twenty-five per­cent of the 3,000 re­spon­dents younger than 18 said they spend more than five hours a day surf­ing the net. In ad­di­tion to play­ing games, they watch videos, lis­ten to mu­sic, search for in­for­ma­tion and chat via so­cial­net­work­ing ap­pli­ca­tions, the sur­vey said.

Net ad­dic­tion

Lyu Cong, Ji’s mother, said she be­comes an­noyed when she sees her son sit­ting on the sofa end­lessly play­ing with his smart­phone.

“I don’t know what at­tracts him to the vir­tual world, but I’m wor­ried that his stud­ies will be af­fected and his eyes will be dam­aged if stares at the small screen for too long,” said the 35-year-old tele­com com­pany

Guo Jie, a judge and the mother of a 10-year-old boy in San­ming, Fu­jian prov­ince in south­east­ern China, un­der­stood Lyu’s dilemma. She said her son used to dis­rupt meal­times if he wasn’t al­lowed to use a smart­phone or tablet com­puter at the din­ner ta­ble.

“Ke Ke (the boy’s fam­ily nick­name) was noisy and im­pa­tient be­fore the dishes were served or once he’d fin­ished eat­ing. He al­ways dis­turbed my meal­time con­ver­sa­tions with friends and fam­ily, and I had to find a way to keep him quiet so I al­lowed him to watch online car­toons next to the ta­ble while I had sup­per with friends,” the 37-year-old said.

How­ever, when Ke Ke’s be­hav­ior failed to im­prove, Guo re­al­ized that she was mak­ing the prob­lem worse, and she was also trou­bled by

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