Internet addiction clinics in China have recently been criticized for using extreme physical abuse to rehabilitated their patients, according to Kotaku. Instead of using therapy to get to the root of the addiction, the operators of various clinics have employed electroshock therapy and beatings to help cure these poor people of their online compulsions. In order to combat the problem, China is now requiring internet addiction specialists to be licensed by the government.
China Daily reports that any instructor found using physical violence to treat their patients will be banned from performing their jobs. Zhao Jing, director of a national project service center, explains that internet addiction among Chinese youth is extremely prevalent, and the programs should be designed with their best intentions at heart.
In 2008, a government study found that individuals who spend more than six hours a day gaming or surfing the web experienced serious withdrawal symptoms. As a result, the Internet Addiction Disorder was born. In order to fight this issue, a series of clinics and boot camps began to pop up all over China. However, the tactics employed by these groups were anything but therapeutic.
According to Kotaku, things got so bad for a group of kids at an internet addiction boot camp that they staged their own dramatic escape from the institution. Unfortunately, their freedom didn’t last long; their parents eventually sent them back to complete their rehabilitation.
“We need to teach them some discipline and help them to establish a regular lifestyle,” the boot camp explained. “We have to use military-style methods such as total immersion and physical training on these young people.
In a startling revelation, the China Youth Association for Network Development claims that over 24 million kids in the country are addicted to the internet and/or online gaming. Treatments for internet addiction have been so extreme that one 15-year-old was beaten to death at one of the clinics.