China 'electrocutes' teen Web addicts

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China 'electrocutes' teen Web addicts

Military-style treatment to deliver a short sharp shock.

China is employing a hardcore programme of boot camp-style military training, psychological counselling and even electrocution to deal with the problem of internet addiction.

The programme is not mandatory and young sufferers are usually admitted by their parents.

The government-backed clinics can charge parents from US$1,300 per month, roughly 10 times the normal Chinese salary, for their child to be treated.

China has previously passed laws banning teens from cyber-cafés and limiting online gaming sessions to five hours before the user is logged out.

The moves follow a survey in the country which found that almost 14 per cent of teens are vulnerable to internet addiction.

The Communist Youth League has also called excessive internet use "a grave social problem".

"If you let someone go online and then don't let them, you may see a physical reaction just like someone coming off drugs," Tao Ran, a former military researcher working in an internet addiction treatment centre, told MSNBC.

"Today you go half an hour, and the next day you need 45 minutes. It's like starting with one glass and then needing half a bottle to feel the same way."

China has previously restricted access to internet resources such as Google for all of its citizens.

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