China bans shock treatment for Internet addiction

Bloggers had written about being tied down and shocked for 30 minutes at a time at one hospital

China has banned the use of shock therapy to treat Internet addiction after its use at one hospital sparked nationwide controversy.

The hospital drew wide media coverage in recent months after Internet users claiming to have received the treatment wrote in blogs and forums about being tied down and subjected to shocks for 30 minutes at a time.

A statement on the Chinese health ministry's Web site said the practice had no medical foundation and forbid its clinical use. The order banned the practice nationwide but specifically mentioned the notorious hospital in eastern Shandong province.

Calls to the Shandong hospital went unanswered Wednesday morning, but a hospital spokeswoman last week said "sensationalized" media reports had already led it to cease the shock treatment. The shocks were meant to cause subjects to associate a negative result with Internet use, according to the hospital. Subjects were forced to admit to faults while receiving the shocks, some Internet user accounts said.

Government-funded treatment centers for Internet addiction have sprouted up around China in recent years, though the health ministry has not officially labeled it a diagnosable condition. Many children are tricked by parents into going to the centers, which often deliver a mix of military boot camp and therapy sessions.

Staff at the treatment centers blame hugely popular online games like World of Warcraft for getting most Chinese teens hooked on the Web.

Some Chinese medical experts still believe shock treatment for Internet addiction does not harm children, but the majority disavow it, said Tao Ran, the founder of a Beijing treatment center Web-addicted teens, during a recent interview. Experts meeting at the health ministry last month signed a document recommending its ban, he said.

Internet users celebrated the move in chat forums.

"This news should truly make people happy," one user wrote in a forum run by local search engine Baidu. "After all, this kind of thing is inhuman cruelty."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags China

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Owen Fletcher

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?