Thursday 21 June 2018

Caught in the net!

, July 2, 2014

Baby-faced teenagers in army uniforms perform pushups at one of the military-style boot camps designed to wean young people off their addiction to the Internet in China on July 2.

Kitted out in camouflage, the students endure a group punishment under the close supervision of former soldiers at the institution that hopes to inject discipline into lives disrupted by the Internet.

There are as many as 250 camps in China alone.

Their methods are more aggressive than clinics elsewhere, such as some in the US that offer website blocking and monitoring software, and enforce bans on Internet use for addicts among the 75 per cent of US adults who are online.

As growing numbers of young Chinese turn to the cyber world, spending hours playing games online to escape the competitive pressures generated in a society of 1.3 billion people, worried parents increasingly turn to the boot camps to crush addiction.

Up to 70 percent of the 110 teenagers being treated at the centre suffer from problems caused by the overuse of the Internet, mostly online games.

Staff who pick up the troubled teenagers, at the request of their parents, aim to use military instruction to inculcate habits of discipline.

Students take part in military-style drills, do cleaning and washing and take turns helping to cook meals.

Counseling sessions with psychologists aim to help victims rebuild self-confidence and their ties to family and friends.

Besides the drill and physical exercises, the courses, which run between four and eight months, cover classes in music and Chinese lion dancing.-Reuters

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