PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 February, 2009, 12:00am

Be aware of downsides to Net

Many people consider the internet an absolute necessity. They use it to do everything, from reading the news and getting in touch with friends, to playing games and shopping.

There are many advantages to the internet, but I believe it can do more harm than good.

Online games, for example, can be innovative and exciting, but they are also very distracting. Playing them for too long or playing too often takes time away from studying.

It can also damage your relationships with family and friends, as you have less time to spend with them.

Making 'friends' online is a constant worry for parents. People in chat rooms are not always who they say they are.

There have been many terrible cases when young people went to meet the friends they met, only to find out they were dangerous.

Another problem is the existence of viruses and hackers. If someone hacks into your computer, they can steal all your personal information. And if you get a virus, it can destroy everything on your computer.

While there are obvious advantages to using the internet, we need to be sensible. We should limit the time we spend online, be careful who we talk to, and make sure our computers are protected with anti-virus programs.

Cheong Nga-sze, The Chinese Foundation Secondary School

Physical differences reflected in food

China is famous for its range of food. The many different cuisines reflect the customs and habits of people in different regions.

Our country is huge, and has such varied landscapes, including coasts, rivers, mountains and plain. This means dishes vary a lot between different areas.

In northern China, for example, people eat simple food because there is often a shortage of water and the weather is extreme.

But in southern China, people eat a range of different kinds of food, because the region is abundant in natural resources, and has a more moderate climate and more plentiful produce.

It's interesting to think that, although it is one country, there are such differences in something a basic as food.

It reminds us that, despite our differences, we can all live in harmony.

Wong Yue-fai, Tak Sun Secondary School

Sport encourages co-operation

Sport encourages interaction and co-operation between players and improves interpersonal relationships.

When talking about the advantages of playing sports, most people mention the benefits to our health and fitness. Of course this is very important, but we should not underrate the positive effect it can have on interpersonal skills.

Communication is key to all sorts of successful relationships. Players on sports teams have to spend a lot of time together, both on and off the pitch, field, court or track.

Not only do they learn to work well together while playing, they learn a lot about each other on a personal level. This can enhance friendship and make them work even better together.

Take basketball as an example. I have been a member of the school basketball team for three years. Because we spend so much time together, both playing and socialising, we know how everyone's minds work. This comes in very handy when we are playing against another team - we can tell by a simple look where the ball is going to be passed, or who should move in to block the opponent.

Our communication skills have become excellent.

We don't even need to talk to know what the other members are thinking.

Participating in a sport can create lifelong friends.

Koey Lee, The Chinese Foundation Secondary School