The story appears on

Page A7

November 6, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Nation

Net addicts to be spared the rod

THE Ministry of Health has banned the use of physical punishment to wean teens off the Web, months after a boy was beaten to death at an Internet boot camp.

Some parents have turned to more than 200 organizations offering treatment for Internet "disorders" as the government increasingly warns of unhealthy Internet habits among the young.

Many of the camps are imbued with a military atmosphere. Patients are forced to replace hours in front of the computer with arduous physical drills or even more extreme "treatments."

The ministry was soliciting public opinions on draft guidelines to juveniles on Internet use.

A front-line advocate of treating Internet addiction yesterday argued that Net addicts should be taken into qualified health institutions rather than rehab camps.

"Internet addiction is a disease, which can not be cured by military training or physical punishment," said Tao Ran, initiator of the definition on Internet addiction and director of the country's first Internet addiction clinic under the Beijing Military Command General Hospital.

'Inappropriate use'

The guidelines adopted the expression of "inappropriate use of Internet" instead of "Internet addiction," adding that a precise definition had not been settled yet.

The ministry advocated four principles to govern intervening in juveniles' inappropriate use of Internet, including no violence, no restriction on freedom and no destructive surgeries.

According to the principles, inappropriate users of Internet with certain psychiatric symptoms should turn to medical institutions for help.

The guidelines are "a strong signal that the ministry has recognized Internet addiction as a mental disease, even it doesn't call it 'Internet addiction' in a straight way," Tao said.

Some users in China are so obsessed with the Internet, their health and interpersonal communication skills have been impaired, the guidance said.

In August, a 15-year-old boy in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region died 10 hours after his parents sent him to a local summer training camp to cure his Internet addiction.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend