IN 2008 China added internet addiction to its list of clinical disorders. This is a facility where addicts are confined and made to perform military-like drills and attend therapy sessions for periods of 3-4 months. Parents are encouraged to stay and take part.

When I first started watching this I thought I was going to hate it. I immediately assumed this was going to be some investigative report highlighting another of China’s human rights abuses. Now, I know seven minutes isn’t giving me the whole story, but if what I saw here is representative of what’s happening I can understand why this exists. An addiction is an addiction; just because the internet isn’t a substance you consume like drugs or alcohol or food doesn’t make it any less addictive.

I was glad to see the talk being given to the parents; it wasn’t being given in any kind of blaming way. It’s a somewhat progressive stance, even empathetic towards the patients, pointing out the root cause of the addiction and hopefully educating the parents. One thing that’s missing from this report from the New York Times, though, is any result from this method of treatment. Does it actually work?