Rehab for Internet Addicts
A rehab facility for internet addicts has become the model for other such centers across China.
China has the world’s largest number of Internet users – 290 million and counting, with 70 percent under the age of 30.
Tao Ran’s treatment center for those addicted to the web and online games has a very distinct style– People’s Liberation Army (PLA) style. And yes, it is located on a military base outside Beijing.
Here, in addition to military-style discipline, some 60-odd patients at his center undergo a three-month regimen of counseling, confidence-building activities, sex education, and in about 60 percent of the cases, medication. The treatment is designed to address underlying family and psychological problems, and boost their self-confidence.
There are a handful of young women here, going “cold turkey” from “Audition” and similar games, where players engage in dance battles, decorate virtual homes, and have virtual husbands and babies. (One female patient had amassed 68 “husbands,” says Tao, with a sigh).