China to Declare 'Internet Addicts' Sick

Fervent web surfers face electro-shock treatments
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2008 1:45 AM CST
Chinese web surfers at an internet cafe. Chinese authorities are warning that 'internet addiction' is a disorder.   (AP Photo/File)
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(Newser) – China is about to become the first nation in the world to officially declare "internet addiction" a clinical disorder, reports the Guardian. Citizens hooked on the web may face treatment that includes military-style discipline, hypnosis, electro-shock therapy and drugs, reports the Guardian. The totalitarian Chinese authorities have repeatedly attempted to suppress internet use, and the latest move appears to be another means of doing so, observers say.

Staying on the web for more than six hours a day and having negative reactions to not being able to get online are two key symptoms of Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD), according to a new manual expected to be approved by China's health agency. Other signs of the "disorder" are extensive use of gaming, pornography, social networking and auction sites, according to Chinese officials.