Monday, 29 August 2005

The Cybercafe Strikes Back

A recent article at TheStar shows an extremely disgruntled parent ranting off about how cybercafes has influenced his son. The article begins with this,

"I HAVE a 19-year-old son who is studying in one of the colleges in Subang Jaya. Last year he became addicted to cyber games and stayed away from classes for weeks at a stretch.

We discovered there were cyber cafés situated just 10m and directly across the road from the main entrance of his college."

Lets face it, no matter how much a person can complain, there is nothing legally wrong with having cybercafes around because as much grief does it bring to this particular parent, it may be a good way for people who has no access to computers to be able to connect to the IT world.

"So we decided to look for him. It was 2am but the vicinity around the college was brightly lit and swarming with students.

They were smoking, drinking, eating, playing pool and courting. The whole place had the atmosphere of a carnival. "

I think it would be better for a place to be swarming with students having fun rather than an illegal assembly whereby they are thought weird cults and practices don't you think so? What is wrong with drinking, eating, playing pool and courting? Or would you rather have them doing all that at another place such as a sleazy club snorting coke and popping ecstasy pills? I think sometimes we should count our blessings, don't you think so?

"We went into one cyber café after another and saw that most of the seats were occupied. Everyone was engaged but not on the Internet. No, they were engrossed in fights against monsters and demons.

On one screen we saw these words: “There is only one commandment – Thou shall kill!”

I have to agree with a parent on this regarding violence in computer games. But the thing is that at that time the people I would assume that the writer saw were actually college kids or older teenagers to young adults. Under this age category, I am sure these patronts know how to think for themselves and that there are other sources of violence other than the usual shoot-them-up computer games, for example, television shows and movies. I would guess that the latter has more of an impact and it usually impacts the younger age group. That is why I support having ratings for video games such as the latest Hot Coffee mod for GTA: San Andreas which caused a huge controversy with parent groups. Right now, the game has been slapped with a M+ rating which stands for Mature if I am not wrong.

"From our enquiries, we found out that many of the students are from out of town, and even from overseas. Our hearts go out to the poor unsuspecting parents who could be giving their hard-earned money to some greedy and influential operators of the cyber cafés. "

Before you start firing at those students who so called unsuspecting parents are not wary of their "night" activities, have you seen then work at their projects at cybercafes? Have you seen them work as a group completing their projects at the cybercafes? Have you seen them do their research on the internet or even chat with their parents who are far away? Before we start criticizing those greedy cybercafe operators, why not complain about other types of operators preying on students such as home renters who charge exhorbitant rents to students especially when their location is so near the college.

Getting down to the problem, its all about choice, whether the individual wishes to spend his/her own time to release their stress or how one would like to spend their free time. If colleges do not have sufficient IT facilities which in most cases are quite true (its financially constraining to have a college to provide full IT support), aren't cybercafes providing that opportunity? Its not really sucking out their money, at RM2 per hour, its cheaper to spend 2 hours in a cybercafe rather than go watch at movie at the local cineplex where you could spend in excess of RM20 (RM10 for the ticket, RM1 for parking, RM9 for drinks and popcorn).

I do sympatize with you on your son who has been continuosly skipping lectures just to spend time playing computer games but then again is it really the fault of cybercafes or are you trying to avoid the responsibility of a proper upbringing of your son? As Asians I see the culture whereby everyone tries to avoid responsibility especially when it comes to family life and personal upbringing or anything that could actually bring shame to the family. By just blaming others or finding fault elsewhere, aren't you taking the easy step out?

If you do not agree with me, please go ahead and blame the following,
1) Casinos, for creating gamblers
2) Vehicles, for creating polution
3) Alcohol companies, for creating drunkards
4) Fast food companies, for increasing the obesity rates
5) PDAs, laptops and handphones, for creating the need to bring your work home with you rather than spend time with your family
6) The Internet, for allowing easy access to pornography
7) Television, for bringing violence and sexually explicit material into the lives of billions

But if you look at the items I have listed above, with proper choices, it does bring good to us.

1) Casinos, provide employment and stimulates the economy
2) Vehicles, transportation boom
3) Alcohol companies, huge refineries provide thousands of jobs
4) Fast food, a quick source of food at reasonable prices
5) PDAs, laptops and handphones, bring communication to a whole new meaning and saving valuable time
6) The Internet, a great source of knowledge as well as business advatages and personal items
7) Television, a great source of entertainment

Now no matter how much some of us can't live without at least one of the items above, lets just return to the topic of cybercafes.


dinghy said...

Mavik winner!

I've got another crusade for you now... the evil corporation versus dinghy! Telekom wants to take me to court if I don't let them have their way with me... and you know me, I don't want to roll over. :P

ikewauhc said...

To Mr Concerned Parent,

If your mind was opened as wide as your mouth, you would be able to see that there is nothing wrong with cybercafes as my dear friend Mark has pointed out. So yes, blame the internet for bringing porn and violence to our world, but you know what I find bloody funny? The last part of your hell of a pathetic letter ==>

Kuala Lumpur.
(via e-mail)

HAHAHHAHAHAHA... Via email indeed. Well said, Mr Editor.

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