Dec 19, 2005

prof helped hundreds of internet-hooked youths kick the habit

Last night, my Dad asked me to watch a programme on CCTV channel called Up Close because he thought I might be interested (not because I'm addicted to the Internet but because I'm interested in education-related topics).

The guest of the show was Prof Tao Hongkai, a guest professor in Huazhong Normal University. His effort in helping youths who are addicted to the Internet particularly online gaming had made him a household name in China.

In one case, in her last resort, a mother had to contact the media and asked for help. Her daughter, who was once a top student in her class, started skipping school to get to her daily fix of online gaming. Prof Tao who read the paper contacted the family. Several days later, after a nine-hour consultation, the 17-year agreed to skip the Internet cafe instead of classes. She kept her promise and today she is a top student again.

Under the China government support, Prof Tao gives talks and consultations for free. So far he helped over 300 teenagers. According to him, his skills of persuasion is not enough to help these Internet-hooked youths. Parents also need to change in order to help their children. In fact, the most crucial part in changing a teenager's addiction to the Internet is to build/enhance the relationship between parents and the child.
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