A student attends an online class at home in Nanchang, east China's Jiangxi province, on Feb 10, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)
The results of a recent survey indicate how the internet has become an indispensable part of minors' lives in China. Given how it is narrowing the urban-rural divide, the internet will also help narrow the education gap between developed and underdeveloped regions.
However, it is prudent that the authorities, schools, parents and society pay more attention to improving the minors' internet literacy, helping them explore the web and creating a healthy internet environment by strengthening supervision and regulation to protect them.
China Internet Network Information Center surveyed 34,661 students from primary to senior middle schools and secondary vocational schools in 31 provinces and regions. The survey found that there are 175 million minor netizens in China and internet popularity among them is as high as 93.1 percent. The survey also found that the gap in internet popularity between urban and rural minors was narrowing. In 2019, internet popularity was 93.9 percent among urban minors and 90.9 percent among rural minors; the gap narrowing from 5.4 percentage points in 2018.
The digital divide between urban and rural minors is narrowing because of the internet's growing popularity, particularly of mobile internet.
Almost 74 percent of the surveyed minor netizens had their own internet equipment; 63.6 percent of them had their own smartphones.
The survey found that minors were using the internet even before they started going to school; 32.9 percent of primary school students had accessed the internet before joining school. And 65.6 percent had learned to surf the internet by themselves.
With the minors taking the initiative themselves, the authorities just need to give them the right push in the right direction to create a healthy internet environment.