Electroshock Therapy for Internet Addicts? China Vows to End It

Electroshock Therapy for Internet Addicts? China Vows to End It

At the Addiction Treatment Center in eastern China, more than 6,000 internet addicts — most of them teenagers — not only had their web access taken away, they were also treated with electroshock therapy.

The center, in Shandong Province, made headlines in September after one of its patients killed her mother in retribution for abuse she had purportedly suffered at the camp during a forced detox regimen.

Now China is trying to regulate camps like the one in Shandong, which have become a last resort for parents exasperated by their child’s habit of playing online games for hours on end.

The government has drafted a law that would crack down on the camps’ worst excesses, including electroshock and other “physical punishments.” Medical specialists welcomed the law, announced this week in China’s state-controlled news media, as an initial step toward curbing scandals in the industry.

“It’s a very important move for protecting young children,” said Tao Ran, the director of the Internet Addiction Clinic at Beijing Military General Hospital.

Dr. Tao said that many Chinese parents believe that the effects of electroshock therapy are fleeting. But he had seen several Chinese teenagers return from boot camps that treat internet addiction showing signs of lasting psychological trauma, he said.

“They didn’t talk, were afraid to meet people and refused to leave their homes,” he said, referring to his meetings with the teenagers. “They were panicked even to hear the word ‘hospital’ and ‘doctor.’”

Qu Xinjiu, a law professor at China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, said the belief that parents have supreme jurisdiction over their children, and that even police officers have no right to intervene in family affairs, is widespread in China… Read More>>

Source: The New York Times

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