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What Happens Inside Internet Detox Camps in China?


Treatment for video game addiction?

By Dr. Brent Conrad, Clinical Psychologist at

Although Internet / video game addiction treatment centres are becoming more common in North America and Europe, countries like China and South Korea have been offering “detox” camps for years.

A new documentary called “Web Junkie” takes a peek inside one of 400 video game detox centres in China and follows three boys during their one month treatment.

Treatment at the military-style boot camp does not come cheap – at 10,000 Yuan, this is double the average monthly salary in Beijing. But when parents are desperate, they will do anything to help their children.

Although the film (not surprisingly) does not provide all the details on what “treatment” for video game addiction entails, it does show the boys navigating military obstacles, receiving medical treatment, participating in family therapy, and having their heads covered in wires to monitor their brain activity (see the picture above).

Good intentions I suppose, but the treatment methods remain more than little suspect. It makes you wonder what kinds of treatments were not allowed to be filmed…

What do you think? Would you ever consider sending your child to a similar detox camp for video game addiction?

Original article: Weaning from the Web


Internet Addiction Linked to Strict / Unaffectionate Parenting


Strick parenting leads to Internet Addiction?

By Dr. Brent Conrad, Clinical Psychologist at

A new study has found that young adults who remember their parents as being overly stick, demanding, and without being affectionate, tended to be more likely to have problematic Internet use (often referred to as Internet Addiction). 

As this is obviously a correlational finding (and we all know that correlation does not imply causation), the authors suggest that other factors may be at play.

For example, kids with very demanding parents who lack affection may experience mood problems, may have difficulty relating to peers in person, or may struggle to making friends in general…which may cause them to retreat to online games for comfort and support.

The study of 600 adults concluded that almost 2% of men and 0.6% of women could be classified as “severely addicted”.

The take home message is pretty simple isn’t it? Be an authoritative, not an authoritarian parent. Set reasonable expectations for your children, but don’t expect perfection and 100% obedience all the time. And always show that you care for them and love them.

Doing so may protect not only against Internet Addiction, but will likely prevent many (many) other problems as well.

Original Article: Parenting Style and Internet Addiction

Is Internet addiction really “just like coming off ecstasy”?

Study finds that heavy users of the Internet are more likely to be depressed and suggests that they may experience withdrawal symptoms similar to those of drug users.

internet addiction depression

Internet addiction just like drug addiction?

A recent study in the international journal PLOS ONE, has found that excessive users of the Internet are more likely to experience mood difficulties such as depression than those with more moderate habits.

The study also concluded that heavy users of the Internet may suffer from mood-related withdrawal symptoms when access to the Internet is removed.

How about an attention-grabbing quote from the researchers?

When these people come off-line, they suffer from increased negative mood – just like people coming off illegal drugs lke ecstasy.”

Here’s the thing – excessive use of the Internet is a real problem for some people, and it doesn’t matter if we call it an “addiction”, “excessive use”, or “unhealthy habits”. It can certainly cause problems at school, work, and in relationships. I’ve seen it and I work with it every day.

By the way, deterioration in mood was tested like this:

1. Baseline mood questionnaire

2. Use the Internet in a lab setting for 15 minutes

3. 2nd mood questionnaire

External validity questions aside, I don’t see a lot of value in trying to equate video game and Internet addiction with drug addiction. In my opinion this trivializes the very serious problem of drug and alcohol addiction and does nothing to “legitimize” the problem of unhealthy online habits.

Comparing online habits to ecstasy is not very helpful – it just seems like an unnecessary attempt to give weight to the very real problem (for some) of Internet addiction.

Internet addiction (or video game addiction) is comparable to drug addiction: Agree or disagree?

Original journal article

Facebook and Twitter increasingly banned at work

ScanSoft, an Internet security provider states that there has been a 20% increase in the number of companies choosing to block social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter at work.

The addition of social networking sites to “black lists” follows commonly banned content at work such as pornography, gambling sites, and file sharing applications.

Hit minimize! Hit minimize!

Hit minimize! Hit minimize!

Not everyone agrees with such decisions though…

“James Norrie, the associate dean and professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management, harshly criticized the trend.

Instead, companies should be teaching their employees to use social media so they can promote the company’s brand online, he suggested.

Taking the privilege away will only encourage skilled workers to seek out more dynamic employers, he said.”

Well, sure. In an ideal world all empolyees would use use Facebook to efficiently schedule meetings, brainstorm with collegues who are away from the office, and promote the company online.

In reality though, I think we all know that the temptation to hatch eggs, create bumper stickers, and take compatibility tests is just strong to resist.

Original article

Teen beaten to death at internet addiction treatment camp?

A 15-year old boy from China has died less than one day after entering a treatment camp for internet addiction.

Four staff members have been arrested amidst allegations that the boy was beaten to death.

Internet cafe in China
Internet cafe in China

“Some estimates suggest up to 10% of the country’s 100  million web users under could be addicted, and a growing number of rehabilitation services exist.

However, there is little consensus on how to treat the addiction.

Tao Ran, director of the country’s first internet addiction   treatment clinic in Beijing, told The Associated Press (AP) that most camps chose to use military-style discipline over scientific methods.”

Original article




No more electroshock for internet addicts in China

After administering thousands of electroshock “treatments” to videogame and internet addicts, China has decided to ban the procedure because ” it has no foundation in clinical research or evidence.”

"Now hold still while I cure you of your videogame addiction"

"Now hold still while I cure you of your videogame addiction"

“Patients are given psychotropic drugs as well as electro-shocks, at a cost of 5,500 yuan (805 USD) a month. Most of them were sent to the hospital by force, the China Youth Daily added.”

Forced hospitalization, ECT, and psychotropic medications (which have not been shown to be effective treatments) administered by people who are not qualified therapists at the cost of $800 per month?

Yes, I think we can agree that banning this practice is the right decision.

Original article

Welcome to the TechAddiction Blog

The TechAddictionBlog (TAB) is a companion to the primary TechAddiction website.

Whereas the main site is quite serious, “clinical”, and recovery-focused (the “idealist” in the TechAddiction family), TAB is a bit less serious, a little more scattered with regard to topics, and hopefully, a bit more fun (the “realist” perhaps?).

Just like TechAddiction, TAB does not rant that the internet, videogames, or technology in general are things that need be eliminated from society (kind of hypocritical to have this stance when you are reading this online right now, don’t you think?).

Quite the opposite in fact. TAB recognizes and appreciates the fact that the internet and videogames are a part of life for millions of people and that this is not going to change any time soon (nor should it).

What TAB does admit (and TechAddiction certainly agrees) is that for some people their tech use gets out of control and that this is something that should change.

So, TAB is about acknowledging the seriousness of true tech addictions, while at the same time appreciating the fact that most people can and do use the technology responsibly.

This means that in addition to postings about serious topics like internet and videogame addiction, fair credit to the online and gaming world will also be given when it is due.

The goal is to present a balanced, fair, and occasionally amusing look at life online.

We are all plugged in.

                  We are all plugged in.

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