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Taiwan kids spend NT79.6b a year in Net cafes

Primary school pupils in Taiwan have been flocking to Internet cafes, to the tune of NT79.6 billion (S$4.3 billion) a year.

SINGAPORE--Primary school pupils in Taiwan have been flocking to Internet cafes, to the tune of NT79.6 billion (S$4.3 billion) a year.

A survey carried out by the Hsiang Yang foundation, supervised by former Minister of Justice Liao Cheng-hao has found that up to 400,000 primary school children visit Net cafes at least once a week. Of these, 120,000 are classed as addicts, going more than three times a week.

Boys are more in the habit, making up 64 percent of the youthful Net cafe clients, with girls lagging at 36 percent.

A report in the Taipei Times attributed the popularity of Internet cafes to a lack of high-speed Internet connections at home, making the Net cafes more attractive to fans of computer games.

Taiwan's 2,500 Internet cafes charge between NT45 (S$2.43) and NT90 (S$4.86) an hour.

The survey also said that 7.7 percent of teenagers have browsed pornographic sites at cafes, with more than half going further and procuring sexual services via the Net.