Feeds

China to offer detox to net junkies

Recognises addiction as 'clinical disease'

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

China's ministry of health is set to recognise net addiction as a "clinical disease" and will next year formally define the condition, the Telegraph reports.

The ministry classifies an addict as someone who spends "at least six hours" a day glued to the internet, and who suffers symptoms such as "irritation, difficulty in concentration or sleeping, mental or physical distress and a yearning to get back online".

Psychologists at Beijing's Military General Hospital probed 1,300 "problematic" net junkies in formulating their definition - a small percentage of the estimated ten per cent of under-18 web users hooked, representing a total of four million teens.

The main problem is the lure of online gaming, with Asia now boasting "enormous salons in which hundreds of users play games for several days in a row". The Chinese have attempted to control the worst excesses by requiring gamers to register their name and ID number while simply cutting off the game after a maximum of five hours online.

Tao Ran, an expert at the Military General Hospital, said the problem would now be addressed in hospital-based "special psychiatric units". Tao, whose speciality is treating heroin addicts, already runs a Beijing "Boot Camp" offering "counselling, military discipline, hypnosis and mild electro-shock therapy" to get inmates back on the straight and narrow.

He said: "Eighty per cent of addicts can be cured with treatment, which usually lasts about three months." He did not specify exactly how internet addicts would be detoxed, the Telegraph notes.

In June this year, US psychiatrist Dr Jerald Block also defined net addiction as a clinical disorder with some victims so hopelessly hooked they "required medication or even hospital treatment to curb the time they spent on the web".

Writing in the American Journal of Psychiatry, he described the four main symptoms thus: victims "forget to eat and sleep"; they crave more advanced tech and more time online as they're numbed by "resistance" to the kicks they get from their current system; prising them away from their computer results in "genuine withdrawal symptoms"; and they begin to become more argumentative, more fatigued, more isolated from society, and perform worse in tests.

Block elaborated: "The relationship is with the computer. It becomes a significant other to them. They exhaust emotions that they could experience in the real world on the computer through any number of mechanisms: emailing, gaming, porn."

China, though, has specific conditions which may be feeding the rise in addiction. Gao Wenbin of the psychology institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the country's youths were "finding refuge online from the pressures of being only children". He said: "Most children in China are the only ones in their families. They are told only to study hard, but no one really cares about their needs." ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Forget the beach 'n' boardwalk, check out the Santa Cruz STEVE JOBS FOUNTAIN
Reg reader snaps shot of touching tribute to Apple icon
Oz bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL
Bank: 'We are now safely patched.' Customers: 'You were using OpenSSL?'
Happy 40th Playmobil: Reg looks back at small, rude world of our favourite tiny toys
Little men straddle LOHAN, attend tiny G20 Summit... ah, sweet memories...
Spanish village called 'Kill the Jews' mulls rebranding exercise
Not exactly attractive to the Israeli tourist demographic
Lego is the TOOL OF SATAN, thunders Polish priest
New minifigs like Monster Fighters are turning kids to the dark side
Dark SITH LORD 'Darth Vader' joins battle to rule, er, Ukraine
Only I can 'make an empire out of a republic' intones presidential candidate
Chinese company counters pollution by importing fresh air
Citizens line up for bags of that sweet, sweet mountain air
Google asks April Fools: Want a job? Be our 'Pokemon Master'
Mountain View is prankin' like it's 1999...
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.