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Are online gaming courses appropriate for young students?

The issue of online games has long since been a matter of concern for parents all over the world; for they tend to have an addictive effect on young students. Being numerous and exciting in variety, children are readily attracted to these games and spend hours on end glued to the computer. Although not in quite drastic proportions, such habits have also caught on with Eritrean children, as they continue to pour towards internet cafes and play online games for hours.

The following is an article taken from the Beijing Review, which discusses about certain initiatives taken in different parts of the country address the problem of online games and redirect them for a positive impact.
sPrimary school students in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province, are playing games this semester and it is okay with their teachers. A new IT course now offers local students the chance to take an online game as part of their studies of online forum registration and Internet-based communication methods.
The course has been the fodder of heated debate. Some believe that this is progress brought by the Internet era, and point out that the course will be beneficial if it is designed to be both fun and informative.
Others say that online gaming classes will be negative on pupils, as they are too young to control themselves. Tao Hongkai, an expert on Internet addiction, expressed his concern after becoming familiar with the new course in Wuhan. He contended that it would mislead the children and make game-loving children addicted to online games. The important thing, Tao said is for young children to learn that computers and the Internet are important tools for information collection and research instead of toys just for playing games.
Online games are actually a common phenomenon among young students. According to statistics released by the China Internet Network Information Center, about 60 million of China’s netizens are young students. They include 15.8 million rural students, and online game players account for 60.8 % of them. The proportion is much higher in urban areas.

Education prevents addiction
There are two reasons why brining online games into primary school teaching materials is controversial. One is that children lack self-control and addiction to games will influence their performance at school. The other is that online gaming courses are misleading and could make children think they are being encouraged to play online games. As the 21st century is the century of the Internet, both adults and children should face the fact that online games are a part of the network. Changing the attitude toward online games from prevention to more access is a big step for education.
Online games are a form of relaxation in modern society. Not only students may become addicted but also adults may be as well. It is common to see adults who cannot stop playing online games, so lacking self-control cannot be the excuse to stop students studying this subject. Compared with textbook learning, real experiences can help students better understand their behavior and psychological make-up.
Guiding students in the right way is better than making them search through endless files of information. How to avoid the harm of online games is a problem that schools and parents should care about instead of students.
From the above we can find that it’s a big step forward for educators to introduce online games into teaching materials. Teachers not only teach students how to learn but also how to play. At the same time, children can enjoy the education process.
China Youth Daily
There are no statistical data that can support some people’s allegation that introducing online games into teaching materials will increase the number of addicted students. It denies the positive effects of education. Just as at the beginning of the 1980s, educators thought that sex education would make students slide toward pornography. After analyzing sexual crimes committed by teenagers, experts later came to the conclusion that lack of sex education was the common factor connecting the crimes. This shows that the original view about sex education is not correct.
Educators should not outwardly consider online games as evil because they have both advantages and disadvantages. Primary school students are at the age when they are curious about playing games.  Though teenagers are barred from Internet bars, it does not mean that they cannot play suitable online games under the instruction of teachers and parents. Some countries’ education authorities have realized that that banning children from playing games may contribute toward a negative mentality. As a result, they have devised an online game rating system. For example, early childhood level is suitable for children above 3 years old and has no sensitive content.
Lacking proper instruction about online games is one of the reasons why some teenagers are addicted to them. The core of the matter is to guide teenagers in the right way instead of refusing online games.
People should pay more attention to establishing an effective guidance system and helping children keep away from online game addiction, rather than focusing on the disadvantages of bringing online games into teaching materials.
Under well-guided education, the Internet will help children become excellent students and people; but incorrect guidance may result in the opposite effect. In order to create a health Internet environment for children, it is not necessary to quarrel about whether to bring online games into teaching materials. On the contrary the most important thing to do is to establish a firewall to protect children from online junk and bad habits when surfing the Internet.
Luzhong Morning Post
Online games are said to have three effects on society: First, they produce a small number of billionaires; second, they fill the wallets of Internet bar bosses; and third, they capture millions of adolescents. Online games are therefore called online drugs. This is a bit extreme. Drugs are illegal while online games are legal. No matter how much you hate it, it just won’t go away. As for millions of young game lovers, we notice that while some are becoming game victims, many of them are not.
Online game classes are deigned to not only teach students how to operate games, but also to help them avoid game addiction. This represents big progress in the education concept. While imparting games knowledge, teaching must try to strengthen students’ self-discipline. This is undoubtedly an important requirement for educators.
Supporters of online gaming courses believe that playing online games are in the nature of children, so by presenting them with good games, educators mean to prevent them from playing bad games.
I do not oppose online games for primary school students, but I strongly oppose online gaming courses. Game playing during class hours only relates to individuals, and individual students can choose to play or not. However, if online games are included into school curriculum, they will use up limited education resources. Education authorities must always keep in mind the maximum interests of the majority. Boys might be fond of online games, but what about the girls? Besides, online gaming courses will probably strengthen these games’ position in children’s hearts. Before all these problems are made clear, online gaming courses are actually experimenting with children.
Keeping up with the times is a good idea, but we should not take this as the only criterion for education reform. It is unwise to impose too many new things on children. Especially primary school students who have undeveloped  judgment. Maybe it is too early for these children to take part in this type of education and even parents will feel pressed to cope.
Effects of online games are controversial, but one thing is certain: Children are not good at controlling themselves and have poor judgment. So it is easy for children to become addicted to games. Therefore, I don’t think online gaming courses should be offered. No matter how well-intended and how teachers want to lead students the students toward a correct direction, these classes will undoubtedly increase students’ curiosity- many cases show that curiosity is the first step toward addiction.
No one can ensure that online gaming courses will not bring side effects. The quality of education has a direct bearing on children’s futures. Educators must be very careful in what they offer. They must be fully aware of the responsibilities on their shoulders, since their work is related to the next generation of our nation.
Wuhan Evening News
Nowadays, many educational websites have open forums for visitors to communicate with each other. Why not choose one of these websites as a platform for students to learn online forum registration and communication methods? Why only choose online games for this purpose?
What I am worried about is profit-driven business operations, which penetrate every single cell of society. There must be strict and scientific procedures for education authorities to select suitable teaching materials so as to make sure that schools really teach their students something useful.


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