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Army discipline is the best cure for Internet addiction. Today we are going to speak about how Chinese government helps the youth to get out of the worldwide web.
You will certainly agree that it's rather difficult to avoid using the Internet which has spread its influence on almost everything in our lives. We don't think you are ready to say "no" to the online chatting, digital shopping, reading an article (well, you are reading this right now) and say "yes" to the everyday early build-up. Chinese government thinks otherwise. Vostok Magazine tries to understand what makes the parents of Chinese teenagers send their kids under the care of former army commanders and what are the results of it.
There are Internet addicts in the West as well. A lot of young people try to hide from reality in a virtual world. But the Chinese were the first to think of an Internet addiction as of a disorder. Online games' developers who once chained the youngsters to the monitor in the hot room now do their best to get them out of the room. They make them complete missions in the streets of their cities and meet "living people" (smart "Ingress" does exactly that). The clinics all over the world use a soft approach to the treatment of Internet addiction: medicaments and psychotherapy. At the same time Chinese doctors prescribe electroshock, acupuncture and physical exercises.
One can try all Chinese methods of dealing with Internet addiction in one of the guarded training camps for adaptation of addicted teens, created by the government of Peoples' Republic of China.
Since not long time ago the Internet has been under steadfast attention of Chinese government. This can be concluded from the fact that the access to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube is blocked on the territory of China. Official statistics says that unrestrained usage of the Internet has led to the increase in the number of suicides and crimes.
The problem is real
At the moment there are approximately 604 million Internet users in China. And according to the National Child Center of China, about 13% of users under the age of 18 have critical addiction to the Internet.
Social dispassionateness is a problem in China. To solve it government offers young people who have symptoms of this disorder an opportunity to recover from it in special army camps where soldiers take care of the patients.
Most of the so-called medical centers are situated near Beijing. Despite the fact that help is given to really sick people (as it is diagnosed by Chinese doctors), the conditions in the centers are far from those in the sanatoriums. The medical center placed in Daxing is more of a camp. The patients there get intensive psychological therapy and live by the rules of a strict army discipline.
The patients are usually young people aged from 14 to 21. The center creates the conditions that help to get rid of the excessive chatting, network gaming, pornography and virtual sex.
The daily routine is really harsh there. Young patients get up at 6.15, then they do the compulsory morning exercises. Of course, the conditions are a bit different from the army. However, the patients don't have free time. At daytime they have military role plays and take part in battles with laser guns. The exercises take place under the guidance of reservists. The key target for teachers and trainers is to make young people well fit. Discipline is really strict: in case even one of the students refuses to accept the orders, the punishment is upon the whole group.
The stay in a camp becomes a sort of a "school of life" for young people. They learn to clean, to cook and master other necessary skills. Don't forget that we're talking about China – artistic education is also a part of the camps' program. Patients study the grounds of Chinese ethics, music and traditional "lion" dance.
The center's management thinks that such therapy will have the biggest impact on young clients because in the camps they can feel their worthiness as members of a real team.
Since the center was open in 2004, more than 1,500 young Chinese have been its patients. The effectiveness of the methods, according to the camp staff, is more than 70%.
However, a stay in camp for one month is not cheap – 10,000 yuan ($1621). This is an annual income of an average Chinese.
Currently 250 similar institutions are in business in China. Most of the "clients" are sent there because of the parents' insistence.