According to Chinese state-media Xinhua, China currently has around 40 million youth internet users. Among which, the internet addict youths consist of around 10%. Youths caught in obsession for internet is largely due to unhealthy video games. This observation serves as a reminder to Christians the urgent need to develop internet ministries that minister to these youths.
Internet Obsessions among Youths in China is on the Rise
At the 11th National People’s Congress, Jiang Guo Li, general secretary of the National People’s congress of the People’s Republic of China, brought up this stat while he was presenting the progress of implementing the China Youth Protection Law.
In his report, besides unhealthy internet games, some districts are not strictly monitoring the cultural market. In the internet cafes located in between cities and villages and in the villages, few of them allow youths to browse sites with sexually explicit contents, violence, and other unhealthy information without any supervision.
Li said that internet obsession heavily influences the youths’ ability to learn, their lives, and their mental health. It is also a cause of many social problems that are damanging the society and the families.
He suggested for the improvements of monitoring of the games on the internet and internet cafes. In regards to internet games, he urged for the support and encouragement for the existing internet products that are beneficial to the youths, in particular, the invention and production of different video game products, and the development of systems set at the production stages to prevent obsessions.
As the technology and society advances each day in China, the number of internet users is also on the rise. According to the report released by CNNIC on Aug. 24, the number of internet users in China has reached 253 million people, surpassing for the first time the number of internet users in America. At the same time, the problem of internet obsession, in particular the youth, is becoming a major source of concern.
Ministers Encouraging the Use of Internet as a Tool to Proclaim the Gospel
Addressing this problem, ministers have been encouraging the churches to see the large number of thirsty souls behind this enormous figure, to actively promote the development of internet ministries, and to build a beautiful culture of Christ through the internet. Since the youths are the key prospects for the future development of the churches and they are standing at the cross-roads of establishing their views on life and values, if they can be led by the positive messages on the internet at this critical moment, then their lives will be impacted for a life-time.
A popular author among the Chinese Christians, Xuede Fan, author of the best-selling book Why I Don’t Want to be a Christian, once said that ministers should use every way possible to more effectively proclaim the gospel in order to reach more lost souls.
In addressing how the unhealthy contents of violence, pornography, games, gambling that damages the mental health of the youths have created a mess in the internet, Fan pointed out that Satan is using the internet to create more temptations and to cause even greater damages. Therefore, churches must be awake in regards to internet ministries, catch up to restore the internet territories that have been lost to Satan, and turn them into the tools for the gospel.
United States Has Began Putting Christian Materials onto the Web
About the numerous youths caught in obsessions with internet games filled with contents that negatively affect their mental health, America has noticed this problem. Besides government working with different fields of the society to setup preventive measures, some have also published internet games with Christian themes to help propagate further changes.
In early 2005, Washington Observer has published an article titled ‘Does God also Play Video Games? – The Bright Future for Christian Theme Games in America’, addressing this issue. In that issue, they’ve interviewed the Bill Bean, who is the vice president of the marketing department at Digital Praise.
In the interview, Bean said that their products are designed to proclaim the good qualities of Christ, and to spark interests and creativity. He said that it is ‘unbelievable and unacceptable’ for the youth video games to be filled with so much violence and obscenity. Because of this, many parents are expressing their passion to develop games that provides a healthy and positive message for their children to learn and play.
Bean further stated that Christian themed video game is an alternative for youths besides those filled with violence. The purpose of filling the games with the message of Christ is to encourage the kids to not lie, cheat, and steal, and to take responsibilities for their own actions.