Retired School Principal Inspires Other Retirees To Save Internet-Addicted Youth

Retired School Principal Inspires Other Retirees To Save Internet-Addicted Youth

Playing Hooky is pretty common, I did it and I’m sure some of you have too. Interestingly enough, in China, one retired middle school principal has actually made a hobby out of catching students cutting class.

Retired junior high school teacher and principal Xu Dezheng has been visiting internet cafes over the last 10 years looking to prevent young people in his hometown from becoming addicted to the internet. Xu’s actions have led to a nationwide movement of seniors and retirees volunteering to monitor internet cafes. Interestingly enough this is the first time that I’ve ever heard of such a program going on.

The following is a translated excerpt of a profile piece from

84-year-old Xu of Xuzhou, Jiangsu province in the mid-east of China, has been going about to various internet cafes in his city searching for delinquent students since 2002. Believing that cutting school to spend time at internet cafes creates “internet addiction” Xu would visit net cafes and try to get his students to return to class. Often times he would pay for the student’s time at the cafe and tell them to back to school.

Xu also marks down every internet cafe he visits that has truant students. It is illegal for internet cafes to allow minors — children under 18 — into net cafes during school hours on school days. Internet cafes require photo id and the like to enter; however there are ways that minors get in anyway.

Xu, now the Internet and Game Room supervisor of Jiangsu province says that internet addiction is a scary problem. During his time monitoring the situation in his hometown, he’s come across 300 plus cases of internet addicted youth. Xu says the youth have become so addicted to the internet that it has become a problem for their development as people.

Many seniors in his community have also taken up Xu’s cause. Now in Xuzhou, there are old people monitoring the internet cafes for truant youth. Every month there are two random sweeps across Xuzhou by groups of seniors visiting internet cafes trying to persuade kids to go back to school.

84岁退休教师义务巡查网吧 劝阻迷途少年300余人 [中国新闻网]



  • i was a drug and internet addict as a teenager, wagged huge amounts of school.

    and now look at me. I have a full time job earning a heap of cash, whilst being a drug & internet addict and wagging large amounts of work.

    this argument that addiction is somehow incompatible with life in general is wrong. On discharging my fiscal & filial responsibilities I should be allowed to indulge in what ever drug I want whether its food, stamp collecting, cat hunting/collecting, gaming internet, narcotic or media.

    of course though if your unable to meet your accountabilities and responsibilities then you shouldn’t be allowed to indulge in anything but cold hard reality.

    • Either your a really bad troll or your one in a million able to have a full time job that pays “a heap of cash” and not show up very often 99% of people would get fired after a couple of days of that.

      As you can see in the article the problem was with skipping school due to having to be on the internet instead which is just wrong. Kids have plenty of time outside of school that they can go and spend on the net and it teaches then that if they do try to skip out on responsibilities (school) they will get in trouble just like skipping work in real life gets you in trouble.

      As a bonus it might cut down the amount of Chinese farmers being annoying in online games.

    • Yeah, I hear this argument from time to time. Whether real or imaginary, there’s always someone who’ll say “pffft. I’ve been doing coke thrice a day for 22 years and I’m a successful, balanced and contributing member of society, with a happy family and I haven’t experienced a single negative sympthom in my health of either body of mind.” What these people doesn’t seem able to understand is that they are (if what they say it’s true) the exception that confirms the rule. That while they are able to somehow have perfectly normal and great lives while keeping an addiction, most addicts have their whole lives destroyed by their vice. Worse, when pointed this, they will say that people that suffer negatively from addiction are weak, sickly people who were bad to begin with.

    • That’s a bullshit attitude because inevitably when people can’t afford to indulge in their pre-existing addictions, then they’d simply borrow, beg and steal to sate them. I was somewhat in the same boat, but it’s incredibly easy to coast on getting drunk/high/playing games while you’re supported financially.

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