With this click, I will thee wed

Updated: 2011-10-28 08:02

By Zhang Yuchen (China Daily)

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Emotional outlet

With this click, I will thee wed

"Various examinations in and out of school related to an uncertain future put some teenagers under a great psychological burden, pushing them to escape the real world," said a researcher on teenage life who works for the Beijing municipal youth league and asked to remain anonymous. "The teens look for soul mates online to release their passion and get a break from the competition."

In addition, indulgence in a virtual world is an outlet for emotional frustration and shortcomings in communication in real life, said Huang Zimo, who provides hotline help to teenagers in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. "The only-child generation appears less capable of personal communication, and the virtual life seems to satisfy their inner loneliness."

And it comes without the responsibilities and moral regulations of real life, Huang said. "They never think of the (virtual) marriage as a commitment. They don't care about their partners' feelings, but do it all for their own emotions."

Qian finds communicating online much easier than offline. "I feel isolated, even surrounded by my classmates in school, and I cannot tell my friends all my thoughts," he said. "But in my game community, we talk far more than in the classroom. Hours pass without me noticing it.

"I found friends online to be closer."

Even if they don't tell the truth.

'No boundary'

Qian's profile in the game community, as Cold Wind in a Deep Valley, portrays him as handsome, 180 cm tall, 70 kg in weight, and without glasses. The real Qian is 70 cm tall, weighs no more than 60 kg and, because he is nearsighted, wears glasses.

His cyberwife depicts Goodies of the Vanity as gorgeous, with long legs, wide eyes and curling long hair.

Then there's the matter of age. Most of his friends online lied about that, Qian said. "They are much younger than they told me."

So is he. His profile says he is 18, a boost of three years. His wife's profile says she's 18, too; she's actually 17.

"We all make ourselves look good," Qian said. "It's natural online."

Qian's mother worries about that. "It seems there's no boundary online for the kids between truth and lies or between real and virtual. It is all confusion.

"I hope he can draw his attention back to what he should do," she said, "and I also expect he may develop a healthy connection with us real people."