China has opened the first official clinic for treating online game addicts. The clinic was opened after concern over the well-being of gamers and those around them. Online addiction has led to disruption in people’s personal lives, sometimes to the point of death. Examples of this include a Korean couple who went to an internet cafe to play World of Warcraft and left their four-month old daughter home alone. Their intention to play for two hours turned into five hours (although leaving an infant for two hours is still considered neglect) and when the couple returned home, the child had turned onto its stomach and suffocated to death. And in April, one gamer stabbed another to death after he had sold a sword the two jointly won in a video game contest. China is, of course, known for its praise-worthy human rights record, so it seems obvious that they would be the first to want to put a stop to this, right?
China desires the use of the Internet for business or educational purposes, but Internet cafes are often becoming the source of negative behavior.
The clinic in Beijing is government-run and has twelve nurses and eleven doctors. Most patients are between the ages of fourteen and twenty-four. Some come to the clinic out of free will and others are taken by concerned family members. Treatment at the clinic lasts ten to fifteen days. It includes talk therapy, medication, acupuncture, swimming, basketball, and shock therapy. The clinic’s director, Dr. Tao Ran, estimates that 2.5 million Chinese are currently suffering from internet addiction.
He comments, "They are suffering from depression, nervousness, fear and unwillingness to interact with others, panic and agitation. They also have sleep disorders, the shakes, and numbness in their hands."
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