Beritasatu, Jakarta – The city of Bandung will give away 1,000 chicks to boys in elementary schools next month in an effort to stop their gadget addiction. The girls will be given plant seeds to grow.
"The initiative comes from the mayor of Bandung," Gin Gin Ginanjar, the head of Bandung's food and agriculture department, said on Wednesday as quoted by Antara.
The Bandung Mayor is Oded M. Danial, a politician from a conservative Islamic party, the Prosperous Justice Party. "We're working out how to implement the plan logistically," Gin Gin said.
He said in the initial stage of the program the city council will give away around 1,000 chicks to school children in 30 subdistricts.
"We will start in early November. First, we have to make sure we have enough chicks to distribute. We have to coordinate it with the chicken farms," he said.
While the Bandung administration did not provide any statistics on gadget addiction in the city, several reports from the mobile and online games industry offer worrying clues.
Hamburg-based research firm Statista estimated that 43 million Indonesians play games on mobile devices this year, up 10 percent from last year.
They have spent $941 million on mobile and online games this year, up 8.5 percent from last year, the Statista data showed.
A study from 2013 estimated that 45 percent of junior and senior high school students in Indonesia played online games and did not plan to stop. It also estimated around one in ten of the students might be addicted to playing mobile or online games.
Game addiction or gaming disorder was declared a disease by the World Health Organization last year.
Mayor Oded said it would be better to try to prevent the addiction from an early age.
He said the program would not only reduce game addiction but also teach students to be more responsible by forcing them to learn to raise chickens.
"They can also learn to become entrepreneurs, to love animals and to take on more responsibility," Oded said.
However, the program will only give away the chicks to boys. Girls will be given chili, tomato and other plant seeds to grow. That way, Oded said, the girls can stop their gaming addiction and learn about farming at the same time.
"We want to help build their character. These elementary and junior high school students can plant the chilies and tomatoes in front of their house. Even if just half of them do it, it'll be good [for the city] too," he said.