China Sends 'Internet Addicts' to Boot Camp

By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2009 5:46 PM CDT
This Chinese school's computer lab is provided for teachers to guide the minors to surf the internet for free during the weekend in a bid to prevent them from addiction to the internet.   (AP Photo/Xinhua, Sun Zhongzhe)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Chinese families are unplugging Internet-addicted loved ones and shipping them off to boot camps, Radio Free Netherlands reports. The Internet Rehabilitation Centre of the People’s Liberation Army, which houses some 50 patients, is one of thousands of online addiction clinics around the country. "They don't only have psychological problems, but also a bad lifestyle," says founder Tao Ran.

Ran blames China's one-child policy for the nation's estimated 4 to 10 million Internet addicts, saying only children face too much pressure. "Many parents criticize their child," he says. "But this affects the self-esteem, which can lead to addiction." At $1,200, his camp costs four times the average Beijing income per month—but people keep coming. “Traditionally, parents believe that the army will help their children become helpful and social."
(Read more China stories.)