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Military training cures China's 'net addicts

Are 130 million Chinese internet users at risk of addiction?

Hot on the heels of the claims of extreme internet addiction among students at a technical college in India comes the news that Chinese military-style camps are meeting some success in knocking online slackers there into shape the old-fashioned way.

The IHT reports that the Internet Addiction Treatment Center near Beijing claims to have cured 70 per cent of the mostly teenaged males it sees who are addicted to gaming, porn and chat rooms.

Tough love

The centre employs a boot-camp regime of early-morning drills, physical discipline and team building to break the addictions felt by the 1,500 patients it has received in the last three years since opening.

At 10,000 yuan (£670) a month, treatment is far from cheap in a country where that represents a typical year's income for a whole family, but well publicised crimes and deaths linked, mostly, to excessive gaming have already convinced doubters of the reality of internet addiction.

With an online community of over 130 million out of a Chinese population of 1.3 billion, the potential for both harm and knee-jerk overreaction is clear to see.