Internet gaming addicts in China



They are young and live hooked to the gaming at the Network. Their desperate parents finish asking for specialized help. A global problem that in China has begun to address interning the kids at detoxification clinics inspired in militar discipline and founder by a militar doctor.

No other nation in the world has as many Internet users as China--about 600 million. And no other has as many people connected to wireless Internet via their cell phones, especially in the big cities. However, this new state of affairs has spawned a serious side effect: an addiction to the Internet and, more so, to online games. Thousands of young people end up secluded in their rooms or in cybercafes, incapable of initiating friendships; connecting for long periods of time that can last several days; and triggering destructive social and family turmoil. Some even die.

Concerned over the increase in cases for which there was no cure, Tao Ran, a colonel in the People’s Liberation Army and a psychiatrist specializing in addictions, decided to design a system so the afflicted, ranging from 12-year-old adolescents to 30 something-year-old adults, can overcome their addictive behavior. Combining psychological and medical therapy with strict military training, he not only works with the addicts but also their closest family members, the latter being both agents and victims of a problem that engenders extremely turbulent relationships, resulting even in violence. Many of these parents accept being interned in Tao’s center with their child. Having demonstrated its effectiveness, his model is spreading throughout China, and the colonel intends to take the program worldwide.