VietNamNet Bridge – Overusing the internet to play online games or chat all day has a negative influence on physical and mental development, according to several experts who spoke at a workshop yesterday, Oct 20, in HCM City.
Dr Nguyen Van Tho, former head of the National Psychiatric Hospital, said this could lead to sleep disorders and an impaired immune system as well as influence the quality of learning and working.
Many schools in Viet Nam are increasingly using the internet as an educational tool and have encouraged students to use it as an informational tool.
Tho said the internet was useful for accessing information or entertainment but warned about its excessive use for other purposes.
At least 990,000 primary and secondary school students in Ha Noi were surveyed by the Ha Noi Department of Education and Training and findings showed that 5,805 were addicted to online games.
Nearly 216,000 played online games once or three times per week and 13,000 played 10 times per week. Some played games for up to 12 hours. This causes a drop in learning results at school and some students even drop out.
Dr Thai Thanh Thuy, head of Paediatric Hospital No 2's Psychiatric Ward, said that children, especially those in primary school, who play games were often hot-tempered and suffered from insomnia.
They also had a low appetite and their language skills developed slowly.
Dr Pham Ngoc Thanh of Paediatric Hospital No 1, writing online about the problem, said that excessive play caused short-sightedness, trauma to the fingers, headaches, and painful backs and necks.
Tho noted that excessive use of the interet isolated people and limited their social activities.
"Children who use the internet excessively are often those whose parents are too busy with work or have parents who are divorced. Children who are beaten often retreat to the internet," Thanh said.
Children should be encouraged to play sports and have outside social activities, she advised.
Prof Tran Tuan Lo, deputy head of Van Hien University's Psychiatric Faculty, said that parents should talk to their children about the effects of excessive use of the internet.
Tho said parents should put computers in the living room in order to observe their children while they use the internet.
The 2011 Viet Nam NetCitizen Report of Cimigo, an independent team of marketing and brand research specialists operating in the Asia Pacific region, showed that Viet Nam's internet usage was one of the fastest-growing in the world.
In urban Viet Nam, more than 50 per cent of population have used the internet, and many see it in a positive light. Only a minority of people see a negative impact on young people, according to the Cimigo report.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News