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Chinese Students Sent to Boot Camps for Internet Addiction

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China has developed military-style boot camps to treat teenagers who are addicted to the Internet. 

Many of these teens were forced into the camps by their parents after China became the first country in the world to make Internet addiction an official disorder. For three to six months, the students in the camps complete drills and physical activities while being supervised constantly by former soldiers. Oftentimes, parents believe that their children's Internet habits are to blame for low grades.

According to a study called Social Lives vs. Social Networks, 71 percent of people with an Internet addiction are between 18 and 24 years old. It is believed that the spread of Internet addiction among young people in China is a result of parental pressure and a competitive society. The country has an estimated 24 million Internet addicts, according to China Daily

This form of "boot camp" treatment is considered to be controversial and even unsuccessful due to suspected abuse and the fact that several people have died while in the camps, reportedly from beatings. One center in Beijing is being sued by a mother who believes that her daughter's condition worsened after attending the camp. 

"For a treatment to work, it needs to last,"says Jenny Taitz, a clinical psychologist at the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy in New York. "And the very nature of a camp is that you can only stay there temporarily."

There may be more than 250 of these camps in China today, and Internet addiction boot camps seem to be spreading; they exist in the U.S. as well, though in much smaller numbers.

What do you think of Internet addiction and boot camps to combat it, collegiettes? Share your thoughts in the comments!


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