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China to shield kids from Net addiction

A law is being considered to encourage development of technology to stop minors from becoming Internet addicts.

india Updated: Oct 28, 2006 14:18 IST

China is considering a law to encourage the research and development of technology to stop minors from becoming Internet addicts.

The draft amendment to a law on the protection of minors would encourage the development of technology that can terminate online gaming at fixed time.

The draft has been submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

It also bans minors from entering commercial dance halls, bars and Internet cafes.

The move comes amid rising concern that increasing number of youths are getting hooked to the Internet.

The government estimates that China has about 15.4 million youths among its 123 million netizens. Two million of them are Internet addicts, and the number is increasing rapidly.

The draft legislation would also prohibit the production and sale of books, newspapers, audio-video products, computer games and cartoons with pornographic, violent, disturbing contents or gambling information to minors.

Those breaking the law would face "severe punishment".

Shops or individuals caught selling tobacco and wine to minors would face administrative punishments such as fines.

Some provisions deleted at the last deliberation two months ago have been restored, including the one where "parents and other guardians must not allow or force minors to get married, or make a marriage contract for them".

The law, which went into effect in 1992, also adds articles in the draft aiming to protect the privacy of minors.

It prohibits others from opening, hiding or scrapping minors' letters, diaries and e-mails, except judicial staffs, parents and guardians of disabled children.

It also forbids abduction, trafficking, abuse and sexual offence involving minors, threatening heavy punishment to people seeking returns by forcing children to beg or act in other undesirable ways.

According to the draft, teachers who insult or physically punish their students would be fired, given administrative punishment or other penalties according to the nature of the infraction.

The schools would be told not to prolong study time and increase students' workload so as to ensure adequate time for sleep and sports activities.

First Published: Oct 28, 2006 13:49 IST