Last update 11/15/2010 11:06:00 PM (GMT+7)

What readers think about the Government’s plans to manage online games

VietNamNet Bridge - In this report, we summarize the opinions of readers writing to online forums about the phenomenon of online games. 

Kaka Duong
: Online games are a creature of the IT age. To suppress their negative side and support theire positive side, we need to learn from other countries. In South Korea, each citizen is granted an ID number. To register for some services, like online games, Koreans must register by their ID numbers. Players of less than 14 must have their parents’ permission. Vietnam should set up such a system.

Anh USA: Lawmakers should allow people to play games freely from 4 to 5 am, before they go to work, and from 7 to 11pm, after they return home, for up to five hours a day. It is both fun and good for health. If that won’t work, it is the best to ban online games and all services which operate after 10pm.

RocketVN:  This is the opinion of someone who works in the IT industry.  Vietnam ought to use electronic IDs to control players. If we rely on electronic IDs, we don’t need to control the working time of servers. The IDs can control playing time based on the age of gamers. For example, people younger than 18 could be allowed to log in from five to ten pm only, and people over 18 for longer periods. I often work late and find that playing games after work is very relaxing. The Ministry of Information and Communications should reconsider its rules.

Tokyo: We should not further discuss about the new regulations. Gamers, take a look at yourselves! There are many things to do in life. While your friends engage in sports or study, you forget the time by playing games. That form of entertainment is a waste of time and money.

Nguyen Quoc Huy: Many people become criminals and many people lose their jobs because of online games. I’ve seen that happen often.  Playing online games after 10pm?  Surely you will sleep at the office or work ineffectively. I think there is no benefit from playing online games, except, perhaps, for game distributors. Only gamers, game distributors and Intetnet café owners are protesting the new rules. I applaud this regulation to save our country’s future.

Nguyen Van Hao: Several years ago, when online multiuser games were first introduced in Vietnam, I was curious. I played and got addicted. I played when I could at the office and spent all my time at home with games. After over two months, my health and work deteriorated. I’m an adult; what about teens? For the future of Vietnam, I completely support this regulation.

Ghost Da73: When all our local game distributors turn off their servers at 10 pm, will our gamers turn off their computers and go to bed? Or they will move to games on foreign servers? This is a seamless age.  If we ban online games in Vietnam, gamers can play games on foreign servers. The nature of Internet in general and online games in particular is not bad. It is the nature of each individual that may be a problem.  Let’s see it as a phenomenon with  good and bad aspects, and should focus on education.

Bui Thanh Hai: People ought to place themselves in the postion of game distributors and Internet café managers.  I’m the owner of an Internet café so I understand. Parents find their children at Internet cafes and they blame us but we are innocent. That’s the fault of parents who don’t teach or control their children. They are busy at work so they don’t have time for their kids.  I do business. Game distributors also do their business. It is not wrong that we want to earn money legally. Parents should blame themselves first of all.

Mai Trung Hieu: Why ban online games after 10 pm? I’m not addicted to games. I only play CF1 for entertainment, and I only have free tune after 10pm. I play as a way of releasing stress. If online games need banning, we might as well just ban Internet use, because gamers who can’t play on Vietnamese servers will just access servers overseas.  

Nano:  It is no problem if we don’t  have online games. They are more harmful than useful, like cigarettes. But we don’t ban cigarettes, we just have measures to restrict their use. That’s a job for law makers: they need to find a way to restrict online games rationally.

Huy Hoang:  I’ve been playing Sword Man since 2005.  The truth is, online multiuser games are very attractive to the young.  They ought to be tightly controlled.  I think the State should force game distributors to turn off their servers at midnight.  10 pm is too early. We only have time to play games after 10 pm but gamers should turn off computers to go to bed after 12 pm.

Gamer: What the authorities can’t control, they will ban.  That’s very normal in Vietnam.

Hoang Ho: I absolutely agree with the people protesting this regulation.  If games are banned after 10 pm, it doesn’t mean gamers will go to bed. They can go drag race their motorbikes or dance in nightclubs.

Michael: They can’t control online games so they ban them, inconveniencing us gamers. But if we can’t play online games after 10pm, we can play offline games.  Perhaps offline games will be banned too and if that ban doesn’t succeed, perhaps the State should ban people from purchasing computers. After 10pm, we can enjoy other hobbies like drinking, gambling and prostitution.

Nguyen Than Phong: We have to control online game to prevent criminal activity. I hope the authorities to tighten control over online games to maintain social order.

Nguyen Sinh: State management agencies don’t their jobs properly. Enthusiasm plus a lack of knowledge equals sabotage. Banning local game distributors will just lead gamers to play games distributed by foreign firms.  There’s no way to ban online games successfully.

JP: Let’s place ourselves in the position of responsible officials.  Yes, the ban seems rather extreme.  However, it’s also true that some youngsters are addicted to the Internet and online games. They neglect studies, their careers and futures because of online games. If the youth could think maturely, perhaps state agencies need not make such regulations.

Tung Tokyo: If I had the power I would ban online games forever. When I was a student, I was obsessed by them, so I understand well the ‘dark side’ of online games.  We can’t let part of Vietnamese youth to overindulge in such useless amusements. They can better entertain yourselves with sports, music, dance, etc.

Mai Thi Hien: Are the contents of online games examined before licenses are granted? Why license games that are violent and offend Vietnamese habits and customs?  For a long time there’s been a regulation that Internet users less than 14 years old must be accompanied by adults if they go to Internet cafes. If this rule were well observed, instead of universally ignored, there wouldn’t be a need for new prohibitions.

Hoang Hai: It’s absurd and impossible to restrict legal amusements. There are many amusing activities after 10 pm. I personally think that the government should implement electronic ID’s and ban customers under 18 at Internet cafes.

Game Thu: 8 am to 10 pm is the working time of most people. I’m only free from 11 pm to 1 am to play games, so of course I don’t like the idea of shutting down the games from 11 pm! They say say that this rule aims to protect kids, but it hurts many who are older. To protect the young, let’s tell parents to spend more time for their children. If kids are addicted to online games, and the games are only available from 6 am to 10 pm, they may cut classes to play games. They have other pastimes after 10 pm that are more dangerous than online games.

Tran Chi Thien: I entirely support the Ministry of Information and Communications’ online game policy. I’m very anxious whenever I go to Internet cafes and heard gamers’ yelling, talking rubbish and generally behaving badly. I hope that this policy will curb young people’s addiction to online games.

Nguyen Thanh Tung: Regulations like this ought to be preceded by consultation of the public, especially those must affected!  If this regulation is approved, the online game industry in Vietnam will collapse.

Vu Phong:  It’s a sound strategy to control excesses from the source: game distributors. Obviously, game distributors will complain, but they must realize that owing to their entertaining games, society must bear more burdens.

Trong Nghia: I’m a kid. I have passion for IT and games. I see many problems in management in Vietnam. Whenever state agencies can’t control something, they issue laws, decrees or instructions to ban it.

Actually, it is not true that gaming can’t be appropriately regulated, but the fact is:

  1. Many officials are corrupted. Everyone has seen social evils at karaoke bars, massage centres or Internet cafes near their houses.  The local officials also know about this, too.  If they say they don’t know, they are unqualified officials and should be fired.
  1. Many officials are ill-informed. They lack the knowledge about IT to make effective regulations. 
  1. Families don’t properly supervise their children.

Zen pro: This draft regulation is only appropriate to secondary school students, not all gamers. Let’s remember that online games have become an industry.  Let’s not act like frogs who know only the village pond!

NC:  I think only Vietnam would have such regulations.  Games are the business of users. It is nonsense to control Internet cafes as most people have Internet access at home.

Binh Duong: The benefit from online multiuser games is small but the harmful effects are many. The games can harm our future generations. Games are entertainment, but how many hours are enough?  Can you stop when you have played games?  Unless the hours are limited, it is no problem for gamers to play overnight. Let’s think of our future!

Brian Nguyen: It is necessary to protect the young generation, not by arbitrary restrictions but by helping them be aware of matters of life and find solutions for themselves

If we say that we limit playing time to protect students, we must know that other gamers are workers and office employees. Is it possible that they don’t have the right to play online games at any hour? They are adults and they have civil capacity.

It is naïve to argue that if we limit online games, students will spend more time studying. They play games because they have free time. If they don’t play games, they can play at other things. Can state agencies control their time?

Each family is a nucleus of society. It’s the job of parents to supervise their children. If some parents can’t protect their children, that’s a serious problem.  They need assistance from educational experts and consultants, not administrative orders.

This rule will harm local game distributors. The administrative system of Vietnam relies on tax revenues collected from Vietnamese enterprises, so we should avoid regulations that harm local businesses. multiuser games are worthless and they are killing a generation of youth. The situation is very bad now.  My younger brothers studied very well before they knew online games.  But once they discovered Sword Man, oh God, their lives have gone down the toilet. Our parents cried a lot but couldn’t save them. They’ve neglected studies to play games and more games.  It’s terrible!

ThuVang: The proposed regulations are absurd!  No country in the world applies such rules.

Hoang Quan: If online games are banned, alcohol, cigarette and many other things ought to be banned too.

Phuong: I’m a student and I live far from my home town.  I was very shy and had few friends. I have played online games for one year, 3-4 times a day. Online games don’t make players become bad. Thanks to online games, I now have many more friends. When I attend offline meetings with hundreds of participants, I can speak to them naturally and confidently, which I couldn’t do in the past.  An online game is a mini-world which has leaders, members, etc. We can learn leadership, teamwork skills and adaptive skills. Online games can change people positively.

Vu Phuc Long: I used to play online games.  They are extremely attractive to people of all ages, especially teenagers. They can play games all days and nights. I used to do that too, and I know that only gamers with self-discipline can break the habit of playing games. It is not possible to ban online games, but they should be closely controlled at Internet cafes, homes and schools.

Nguyen Minh Duc: It isn’t possible to ban online games effectively, so let’s manage their development strictly.  Though there are many good things for people to learn from the world of online games, children should be taught that games are for entertainment and they can’t replace real life.

If online games are banned, where will we go for recreation?  Most of us teens don’t have access to libraries, parks or public playgrounds.  We don’t have money to go to cafes, karaoke parlors or night clubs.