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Electronic Heroin

An inside look at a controversial rehabilitation center in China that is “deprogramming” teenagers who are addicted to the Internet.

Compulsive Internet use is a serious addiction. One Chinese man spent two months straight in an Internet café; another died after playing online games for 40 hours without a break. Dong Nguyen, the creator of the insanely popular game Flappy Birds removed it from circulation because it was too addictive.

China was among the first to label “Internet addiction” a clinical disorder. This New York Times video shows the inner workings The Internet Addiction Treatment Center, a controversial rehabilitation center where Chinese teenagers are “deprogrammed.” Their approach is extreme; it’s hard to imagine a center like this in North America being legal. But they sure are taking internet addiction seriously.

Let us know what you think of this disturbing video in the comment section below.

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Published: February 15, 2014

Visitor Comments: 13

(10) Isaacson, February 20, 2014 2:34 PM

this is not about internet addiction

Nothing in the video had to do with internet addiction, it was about video game addiction only.

(9) Chana Parnes, February 20, 2014 11:45 AM

Very disturbing

It's crazy how deep one can sink into an addiction. American internet addicts clearly would need a more lenient approach to rehabilitation than this Chinese method.
I like what Duvid Chaim said about

(8) Orah, February 20, 2014 6:50 AM

Abusive and useless

From the perspective of efficacy, a program like this is likely to be totally useless. Abusive prorams like this induce trauma in their participants. A truamatized person is likely to seek solace through withdrawal from society, which is exactly the problem that these programs are supposed to treat. (I am a psychotherapist)

(7) Duvid Chaim, February 17, 2014 9:16 PM

There is a SOLUTION!

Having found myself addicted to the Internet and inappropriate sites, I joined SA about 10 years ago. Then I found I learned that the Internet was NOT my problem, it was my SOLUTION. Thanks to the 12 Step Program, I learned that the underlying Resentments and Fears led me to seeking the "comfort" of my addiction. Boruch Hashem, there is a REAL SOLUTION. Please join me and thousands of others who have found Freedom, Serenity and Recovery.

(6) max, February 17, 2014 1:53 PM

I relate

The one line that caught my attention was where one of the kids said "I'm not an addict and I don't want to be here". I'm a recovering internet addict, and while my addiction is primarily porn, the Internet on its own still has an overpowering pull. I used to game all night as well and I missed days of work and this as a grown father of teenagers. the common thread of all addiction is the overwhelming desire to "use" while away from the "drug" and the inability to use anything rational to stop once your in it. for me, the 12 steps of recovery have helped me tremendously in my sex and porn addiction to where my life has enough meaning to let me fill it with worthwhile activities. but I had to stop because I was ready to. sadly at the time that meant sinking to a pretty low bottom but I couldn't find recovery until I was ready. Boot camp is appealing to loved ones of addicts who feel like they are a failure if the addict is still using. it may yet work but forcing a treatment is a short term fix for a problem/disease that last a lifetime.

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