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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


Parents Push to Ban WiFi in Schools

Posted by Dr. Brent Conrad from

Parents’ advocacy groups in Canada and the US are successfully getting schools to ban wireless internet access due to health concerns.

Awww, don't cry little guy

It seems as though there have been more of these stories over the last year or so.

Although I think that keeping phones out of the classroom is a good idea (you are there to learn, not text, right?), is banning wifi in public places based on evidence or unjustified fear?

Points from the story:

  • In May of 2011 the World Health Organization classified the RF signals sent via cell phones and wifi connections as “possibly carcinogenic”
  • Health Canada states that there is “strong evidence” that current exposure levels to wifi signals are not dangerous and no additional precautions are necessary
  • Some parents believe that their children have experienced headaches, nausea and heart problems due to exposure to wifi signals
  • Magda Havas, a Trent University professor argues that there is research showing that exposure to radio frequencies leads to an increase in tumors for rats
  • Dave Michelson, an electrical engineering professor at the University of British Columbia believes that wireless internet is safe and that groups trying to enforce bans are doing more harm than good

What do you think? Is our precious wifi access slowly killing us (get in line wifi, you have a lot of competition), or is this just a “sky is falling” overreaction with not enough evidence to back it up?  

Original Article: WiFi foes fight to rid schools of wireless Internet

One Third Of Teachers Have Been Bullied Online By Students And/Or Parents

A third of teachers have said they have been subjected to online bullying – including by parents who see them as ‘fair game’.

Student harassment of teachers is growing

Facebook and Twitter have been used to intimidate teachers over bad grades or simply because they are not liked.

More than a quarter of those that admit they have been targeted say the abuse has come from parents with one headteacher was driven to the brink of suicide by a year-long online hate campaign.

One parent even set up a ‘Google group’ and asked others to join in their abuse.

Andy Phippen, professor of social responsibility in IT at Plymouth Business School who researched the matter, said: ‘You expect a little bit of abuse from children. But when parents launch 12-month campaigns of abuse you have to think “something has gone wrong here”.

‘Parents are saying “You gave my child a bad grade, I’m going to give you a slating on Facebook” – it is something that is growing and growing.’

On top of the abuse from pupils and parents, one in 10 said they had been a victim of another teacher’s cyber-bullying.

The report said: ‘It seems to a subset of the population the teacher is no longer viewed as someone who should be supported in developing their child’s education, but a person whom it is acceptable to abuse if they dislike what is happening in the classroom.’

One headteacher told the team: ‘A parent set up a Google group and devoted it to saying unpleasant things about me. It started off as “the Head” and then he started referring to me just by my surname. He invited other parents to join in but only one did.

‘I eventually had a mini breakdown in the summer holiday needing an emergency doctor to be called out – as I had become suicidal – a fact that none of my staff know as I was much better by the start of the term – greatly helped by him removing his children from school.’

The survey was carried out by academics working for the UK Safer Internet Centre and it found that the most common type of abuse was through Facebook groups that targeted specific teachers.

There was also evidence of pupils creating fake Facebook pages in a teacher’s name, posting videos of teachers in class on YouTube, and setting up whole websites to be abusive about a single or group of staff. was also mentioned a number of times as a site where abusive comments had been posted. In some cases where teachers had complained, the comments still remained.

‘While some defenders of free speech have argued that such sites have a right to exist, we would question the role of a site where pupils can freely post slanderous and abusive material about a member of the teaching profession and threats of violence toward them,’ the team wrote.

Prof Phippen said it was important more training is provided to senior managers and others to help combat the rise of online bullying.

A Facebook spokesman said: ‘At Facebook we have worked hard to develop reporting mechanisms that enable people to report offensive content they are concerned about.

‘Having the tools to report content in this way gives people more control over what is said about them on Facebook than over the wider web where few such controls exist.’

Video Game Addict Dies From Blood Clot

The family of a budding computer programmer have on Saturday launched a campaign to raise awareness about the health risks of playing online computer games after their son died following a marathon session on his Xbox.


Long Gaming Session Blamed for Death of Halo 3 Player


A post-mortem revealed that 20-year-old Chris Staniforth — who was offered a place to study Game Design at Leicester University — was killed by a pulmonary embolism, which can occur if someone sits in the same position for several hours.


Deep vein thrombosis normally affects passengers on long-haul flights, but medical experts fear youngsters who spend hours glued to their consoles might also be at risk and have urged them to take regular breaks.


Professor Brian Colvin — an expert on blood-related conditions — said it was “unhealthy” for youngsters to spend long periods in front of their consoles.


“There’s anxiety about obesity and children not doing anything other than looking at computer screens,” he told The Sun.


David Staniforth has now launched a campaign to warn other parents of the dangers.


“Games are fun and once you’ve started playing it’s hard to stop.


“Kids all over the country are playing these games for long periods – they don’t realise it could kill them,” he told The Sun.


A coroner’s court in Sheffield was told how the youngster — who had no underlying medical conditions — was complaining of a low heart rate before collapsing outside a Jobcentre.


Staniforth’s distraught father said his son would spend up to 12 hours playing on his Xbox.


“He got sucked in playing Halo online against people from all over the world.”


Online computer games are extremely popular as thousands interact in shared science fiction worlds.


Reports of gamers collapsing after spending 15 hours in front of video games are fairly common throughout Asia.


In 2005, a South Korean gamer died after playing online games for three days without taking a break.


Microsoft — which manufactures the Xbox — said it “recommend gamers take breaks to exercise as well as make time for other pursuits.”


Video Game Camp Criticized For Encouraging Inactiivty

A summer camp designed to get young people to play video games is perpetuating New Brunswick’s problem of childhood obesity, according to one of the province’s most well-known promoters of healthy lifestyles among children.

“So, um, doesn’t anyone want to spend time with me anymore?”

The True Gaming Summer camp in Fredericton is operated on the premise that young people can learn a lot by the activities involved in playing video games.

Andrew Reimer, the camp’s founder, said the idea that playing video games can be good for young people is the reason why gaming is part of the daily activities in his private summer camp.

“It develops problem solving and just-in-time thinking. They have to make decisions at just that time, and so it’s a quick responsiveness in that way,” Reimer said.

The idea of putting young people in front of television screens even more is not sitting well with Gabriela Tymowski.

Tymowski, a kinesiology professor at the University of New Brunswick, who ran the province’s first child obesity clinic, said the video game camp is not encouraging healthy choices.

“It’s a bit of an oxymoron to talk about healthy video games. Why don’t we talk about healthy activity? Physical activity?” she said.

“Kids get off school, they leave the interior environment of the school, the bus, they into the house, open the fridge and then move to the screens,” she said.

A recent study by Active Healthy Kids Canada found that kids spend 6 hours in front of a screen on weekdays and more than seven hours on weekends.

The report also said 59 per cent of kids are sedentary between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. and only get 14 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity in that period.

“Children are interested in video games, they’re attracted to them, there’s a lot of stimulation there,” Tymowski said.

“And so parents are encouraged or want to put their children into an activity that the children will enjoy. But unfortunately, while their fingers may be dexterous and moving the rest of their body isn’t.”

The idea of trying to stifle the popularity of video games is a lost cause, Reimer said.

Gaming is part of the culture of young people so the youth camp organizer said he’s designing a program that allows them to take part in activities that they enjoy.

 “I’m not sure exactly how a kid would be able to socially interact nowadays without having any video gaming background. I feel like they’d have a lot harder a time at like public school, because that is the common factor that kids have nowadays to make friends,” Reimer said.

The popularity of video games is also spreading to other members of the family.

Carl Callewaeart, an instructor at the Gaming and Animation Institute of Fredericton, said game developers say they recognize the issue and are shifting their approach when it comes to designing new games.

“Game developers know that in the past it was about targeting young kids. But now the parents play too, so now there are family packages,” he said.

“And when you play together there’s that healthy aspect- because you have quality time together.”


New book for parents on how to help children addicted to video games is released

Not many blog posts here recently as I have been very busy writing TechAddiction’s second book How to Help Children Addicted to Video Games – A Guide for Parents.

After many months, the book is finally ready and I have to say I am quite happy with the final result. Every day I get requests from parents on recommended books for dealing with video game addictions in kids. I have probably read just about every book on this topic but I just could not find a book that offered what I was looking for: A clear, comprehensive, step-by-step, always up to date,  workbook-style manual that not only educates, but describes exactly how to address video game addictions in teens and children.

With over 200 pages of specific tips, strategies, and interventions as well as detailed analyses of conversations between parents and children in the midst of a game addiction…I have tried to produce the most helpful and practical book available online or in print on this topic.

Hopefully I have succeeded.

How to Help Children Addicted to Video Games – A Guide for Parents

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