Monks and megabytes, Thai government wants Internet cafes in Buddhist temples

By Humphrey Cheung, TG Daily, May 20, 2008

Bangkok, Thailand -- Thailand’s government is proposing a very holy way of dealing with what it says is the growing lawlessness in Internet cafes.

The country’s Cultural Ministry wants Buddhist temples to host the cafes because monks would keep a close eye on children and mete out stern punishment on anyone who gets out of line.

There are nearly 24,000 registered Internet cafes in Thailand and the government says they are dens for illegal activities like drug dealing, gambling and prostitution. It backed up its claims by giving vague accounts of boys and girls being sexually harassed inside some cafes within the past year.

An association of 200 Internet café owners wants to stymie the government by proposing their own rules. The owners say they are willing to restrict Internet usage to anyone under 18. Anyone under 15 would only be allowed into the café from 2 PM to 8 PM while 16 to 18-year-olds would have extended hours until 10 PM.

Now I wonder how the monks would react if you started playing something like World of Warcraft in the temple?