[photopress:sichhuan_games.jpg,full,alignright]The Internet Addiction Treatment Center (IATC) in Daxing county near Beijing uses a blend of therapy and military drills to treat children addicted to online games, Internet pornography, cybersex and chats. The government-funded Daxing center is run by an army colonel under the Beijing Military Hospital.
Patients, overwhelmingly male and aged 14 to 19, wake up in common dormitories at 6.15 am to do morning calisthenics and march on the cracked concrete grounds wearing khaki fatigues. Drill sergeants bark orders at them when they are not attending group and one-on-one counseling sessions.
Xu Leiting, a psychologist at the hospital, said, ‘Many of the Internet addicts here have rarely considered other peoples’ feelings. The military training allows them to feel what it’s like to be a part of a team. It also helps their bodies recover and makes them stronger’.
The IATC has treated 1,500 patients in this way since opening in 2004, and boasts a 70% success rate at breaking addictions. Addiction to the Internet is blamed for most juvenile crime in China, a number of suicides, and deaths from exhaustion by players unable to tear themselves away from marathon game sessions.
Xu Leiting said, ‘The main cause of Internet addiction is that parents’ expectations for their children are too high.’ Some parents lock their children up to study and ask teachers to assign them extra homework. Xu Leiting said the pressure can be too much for some children: ‘Then they escape to the virtual world to seek achievements, importance and satisfaction, or a sense of belonging.’
Source: China Daily
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