Dark side of internet cafe and internet cafe history


- The first internet cafes were not actually focused on the internet, but rather on online networking sites that connected users through terminals in coffee houses. One of the earliest examples was SF Net, which was launched in 1991 in San Francisco, USA. SF Net allowed users to chat, flirt, share stories, and role-play with screen names. It also charged 50 cents for eight minutes of computer use.

- The concept of a cafe that offered full internet access (and the name Cybercafe) was invented in 1994 by Ivan Pope, a designer from the UK. He proposed a cafe that would let people browse art on the internet as part of an art event at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London. Soon after, the world's first internet cafe, Cyberia, opened in London. Its goal was to give everyday people access to the World Wide Web for a small hourly fee¹.

- The popularity of internet cafes spread rapidly across the world, especially in developing countries where personal ownership of computers and internet access was expensive or unavailable. Internet cafes became places where people could communicate, learn, work, play, and socialize. They also offered various services such as printing, scanning, faxing, phone repair, and refreshments.

- Internet cafes also became associated with some negative aspects, such as piracy, addiction, crime, and exploitation. Some internet cafes were used as dens for sharing pirated music, movies, and software. Some users became addicted to online games, spending hours or even days in internet cafes without proper food, sleep, or hygiene. Some internet cafes were involved in illegal activities such as hacking, gambling, fraud, and cybercrime. Some internet cafes were also exploited by terrorists, criminals, and extremists who used them as hideouts or communication channels.

- Internet cafes have faced many challenges and changes in the recent years, such as competition from smartphones, tablets, laptops, and Wi-Fi hotspots, as well as regulations and restrictions from governments and authorities. Some internet cafes have adapted by offering new services, such as e-learning, e-government, e-commerce, and e-sports. Some internet cafes have also transformed into co-working spaces, gaming centers, or social clubs. Some internet cafes have closed down or become obsolete.


Internet cafes have played a significant role in the history and development of the internet and society. They have enabled millions of people to access information, entertainment, education, and opportunities. They have also created many cultural, social, and economic impacts, both positive and negative. Internet cafes are still evolving and innovating, reflecting the changing needs and preferences of their users and the work The history of internet cafes, also known as cybercafes or PC bangs, is a fascinating topic that spans across different countries and cultures. Internet cafes are places where people can use computers, often to play video games, surf the web, or communicate with others, for an hourly fee. They have been influenced by various factors, such as technological development, social trends, legal issues, and cultural preferences.


One of the earliest examples of an internet cafe was the '전자카페' ('Jeonja Kape', which literally translates to 'Electronic Cafe') in South Korea, opened in March 1988 by two professors, Ahn Sang-soo and Gum Nu-ri. It was a place where people could use two 16-bit computers, which were connected by a telephone line. However, it was not widely known and closed in 1991.


The first public internet cafe, named BNC, was founded by Jung Min-Ho in Seoul, South Korea, in April 1994. It gained immense popularity and introduced new terms such as 'modem cafe', 'network cafe', and 'cyber cafe' to the press. Internet cafes in South Korea rose to prominence following the release of the PC game StarCraft in 1998, which attracted millions of players to compete online. Internet cafes became a social meeting place for gamers, especially school-aged ones, who could play together with their peers on high-end gaming PCs. Many popular South Korean multiplayer games also provided incentives for players to play from internet cafes, such as bonus virtual currencies or items. Internet cafes in South Korea are known as PC bangs, which means PC rooms. As of 2002, there were 25,000 PC bangs in South Korea, catering to 25 million internet users.


Internet cafes in Japan have a different history and culture. They emerged in the late 1990s as a response to the high cost of living and the lack of space in urban areas. Many people, especially young and low-income ones, used internet cafes as a cheap alternative to renting apartments or hotels. Internet cafes in Japan offered not only computers, but also manga, magazines, DVDs, snacks, drinks, showers, and even private booths with beds. Some people even lived in internet cafes, becoming known as 'net cafe refugees' or 'cyber homeless'. Internet cafes in Japan are also associated with various subcultures, such as otaku, hikikomori, and cosplay. Internet cafes in Japan are known as manga kissa, which means manga cafes, or netto kafe, which means net cafes.


Internet cafes in other countries have their own histories and characteristics, depending on the local context and demand. For example, in China, internet cafes are mainly used by young people to play online games, such as World of Warcraft, and are often regulated by the government. In India, internet cafes are widely used by people who do not have access to computers or internet at home, and are often used for education, communication, and entertainment purposes. In some countries, such as Iran, Cuba, and North Korea, internet cafes are rare or illegal, due to censorship and political reasons.


Internet cafes have a dark side as well, as they can be involved in illegal or harmful activities, such as hacking, gambling, pornography, cybercrime, and addiction. There have been cases of violence, theft, fraud, and even death related to internet cafes, such as the infamous incident in 2005, when a South Korean man died after playing StarCraft for 50 hours straight in a PC bang¹. Internet cafes also face challenges from the rise of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and wireless internet, which offer more convenience and mobility for users. However, internet cafes still have a loyal customer base and a unique culture, and they continue to evolve and adapt to the changing times and needs of society.




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