Watch this short documentary from the NY Times about a boot camp treatment facility for internet addicted youth in China where since 2008, internet addiction has been declared a clinical disorder and a top health threat to teenagers.
It may seem laughable now, but there’s no doubt that internet addiction is going to become a growing concern all over the connected world, for young still-developing brains and adults alike, especially as web experiences become more immersive, augmented and virtual.
In this Op-Doc video, we show the inner workings of a rehabilitation center where Chinese teenagers are “deprogrammed.” The Internet Addiction Treatment Center, in Daxing, a suburb of Beijing, was established in 2004. It was one of the first of its kind – and there are now hundreds of treatment programs throughout China and South Korea. [The first inpatient Internet addiction program in the United States recently opened in Pennsylvania.]
The program featured in this video admits teenagers, usually male, whose parents typically take them there against their will. Once inside, the children are kept behind bars and guarded by soldiers. Treatment, which often lasts three to four months, includes medication and therapy, and sometimes includes parents. Patients undergo military-inspired physical training, and their sleep and diet are carefully regulated. These techniques (some of which are also used in China to treat other behavioral disorders) are intended to help the patients reconnect with reality.