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China Bans Electric Shock Treatment to Cure Internet 'Addiction'

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Chinese Internet user

Doctors released the first diagnostic definition of Internet addiction last year.

Credit: The Guardian

China's ministry of health has banned the use of electric shock treatment to cure Internet addiction. The move follows growing concern in the country about young people's compulsive use of chat rooms, Web sites and online gaming — but also the methods used to wean them offline.

Doctors released the first diagnostic definition of Internet addiction late last year, based on a study of more than 1,300 intensive users. It says addicts are those who spend at least six hours online a day and have shown at least one of a range of symptoms — including yearning to get back online, fear of social contact, irritation and difficulty concentrating or sleeping. Other experts argue that the definition is far too general and that many non-addicts qualify under it because the criteria are so vague. But critics warned that some of the "cures" promoted to anxious parents were as worrying as the original problem.

A notice on the ministry's Web site said that the safety of the technology was not clear so use of the therapy should be stopped immediately.

From The Guardian
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