Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Shock treatment for internet addicts

Beijing - China's Health Ministry has ordered a hospital to stop using electric shock therapy to cure youths of internet addiction, saying there was no scientific evidence it worked.

Linyi Mental Health Hospital in eastern Shandong province used the treatment as part of a four-month programme that has so far treated nearly 3 000 youths, the China Youth Daily newspaper has reported, citing the psychiatrist who runs it, Yang Yongxin. Patients are charged 5 500 yuan ($805) a month.

Chinese psychologists say symptoms of internet addiction include being online more than six hours a day - playing games and looking at pornography rather than working or studying - and getting angry when unable to get online. If you ask me, this sounds like most of the people I know and it includes most of the online community.

China has the world's largest number of internet users with 338 million - more than the entire population of the United States. More than 10 million of the country's 100 million teenage web surfers are internet addicts, the China Daily said, citing a survey by the China Youth Internet Association last year. If they start giving shock treatment to the entire next generation, I don't have much hope for the future. We are going to end up with a bunch of zombies with fried brains.


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