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China Bans Shock Treatment For Internet Addiction

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the just-put-down-the-mouse dept.

Medicine 113

angry tapir writes "China has banned the use of shock therapy to treat Internet addiction after its use at one hospital sparked nationwide controversy. The hospital drew wide media coverage in recent months after Internet users claiming to have received the treatment wrote in blogs and forums about being tied down and subjected to shocks for 30 minutes at a time."

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113 comments

Damn it (5, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#28704485)

Nothing gave me more pleasure that thinking of WOW power levelers with electrodes attached to various body parts.

Only for internet addiction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28704491)

So is there a list of "illnesses" that they do still treat with electrical shocks or is it okay for pretty much everything except internet addiction?

Re:Only for internet addiction? (1)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 4 years ago | (#28704551)

So is there a list of "illnesses" that they do still treat with electrical shocks or is it okay for pretty much everything except internet addiction?

To quote the bottom of slashdot:

Of course there's no reason for it, it's just our policy.

Re:Only for internet addiction? (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 4 years ago | (#28706081)

You might be surprised. Shock therapy is still used in the US - I have a close family member for whom it was recommended and he volunteered. Of course, I'm not sure that we'd apply it without the patient's permission. But, although I'm not an expert (haven't even googled it since quite a few years ago when my family member was getting zapped), is somebody who volunteers for shock therapy necessarily qualified to make that decision for themselves?

Re:Only for internet addiction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28707785)

IAAP [I am a psychologist]. It really depends on what you mean by "qualified." I'm guessing that you mean something like "capable" or "competent," and that (say) a baby, a person with severe Alzheimer's disease, or a person who couldn't understand language would not qualify as capable.

So: By this definition, are people who volunteer for shock therapy capable? It depends. These days, shock therapy is mostly used to treat intractable depression. Most people who are depressed are capable of making decisions, but some are not. By default, we assume that an adult *is* capable unless there is good evidence to the contrary (or a legal order establishing a guardian). "Good evidence" is not a terribly well-defined term, however. In practice, we usually talk with the patient and his or her close associates (family, friends, whoever) to try to ensure that everyone understands the situation and is okay with the plan. In any event, even if the person cannot legally make decisions, we are generally still required to talk to the person and get however much agreement he or she is able to give.

Anyway, in practice this gets very messy, and most of us do what our consciences dictate and hope that the lawyers never go nosing around.

Uh, I don't know if I've answered your question or simply nattered on about something irrelevant....

Re:Only for internet addiction? (1)

kyliaar (192847) | more than 4 years ago | (#28708335)

Many states have laws that allow police or other such officials to drop off someone showing signs of insanity to a psychiatric facility. In California, this is referred to as a 5150 after the section of the penal code containing it. They can make the assertation that this needs to be done off of second hand reports, not first hand observation. Once the person is committed, he can be deemed to not be sane enough himself to make decisions regarding his own need for treatment and be subjected to electric shock therapy, psychotropic drugs, etc. I have heard of family members getting people committed using these methods. Of course, it is illegal to give false reports to spur a 5150 but who trusts a nut to report things accurately and who trusts a medical facility to not take a patient that will be paid for from state funds.

This is much more of an issue in other countries which it can be used as a way for the state to make dissidents disappear, such as Cold War Russia.

However, I can't look at the Homeland Security Act and shudder at how similar of an abuse that was for a state directed and controlled method for suspending someone's civil liberties with an accusation.

I am actually surprised that something like this came out of China. Perhaps their populace is starting to question and speak out about their level of freedom.

Chinese "Nationwide Controversy?" (1, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#28704555)

its use at one hospital sparked nationwide controversy.

Does China even have such a thing as "nationwide controvery"? Or is the "nation" here the United States? Or maybe Canada?

Re:Chinese "Nationwide Controversy?" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28704607)

Does China even have such a thing as "nationwide controvery"?

Yes.

Or is the "nation" here the United States? Or maybe Canada?

No. It means China. You ought to get out more - there's a whole world out here. We have controversies and everything.

Re:Chinese "Nationwide Controversy?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28707665)

Chinese controversy=Should we keep adding melamine to pet food and milk, or should we just paint more childrens toys with lead-based paint?

Boycott mainland Chinese products until they learn how to play nicely with others.

Doesn't hurt them? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#28704559)

"Some Chinese medical experts still believe shock treatment for Internet addiction does not harm children, but the majority disavow it, said Tao Ran, the founder of a Beijing treatment center Web-addicted teens, during a recent interview."

Sure, as long as you're only worried about their physical health, I'm sure it doesn't... Too bad it scars them for life mentally.

Re:Doesn't hurt them? (2, Informative)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#28704851)

First and foremost, there's two kinds of electro-shock therapy. One is simple aversion therapy, putting the person in front of the computer and when they try to open the browser a painful shock is given. That doesn't sound like what they are trying to accomplish here so I'll assume that it is the second kind, the kind which actually tries to change the way a person thinks and feels about memories.

Done correctly there's nothing inherently wrong with that kind of shock therapy, it's even made something of a minor resurgance in the US for treating PTSD and depression. The idea is that you shock the brain while it is remembering the dramatic memory, cuasing the brain to either fail to store the memory or to store the memory without the emotional content.

And the crazy thing is that it actually works pretty much as advertised. The problem is that there is no garauntee that the patient is thinking 100% about what you told them to think about; people's minds wander and if the person just happens to be thinking about something important to them, significant damage can be done to the persons memory. Obviously, the people being treated were not giving their informed consent for those procedures, nor does it seem to me that 30 minutes at a time (if accurate) is the correct way to administer the treatment.

Re:Doesn't hurt them? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#28705121)

Tricking your child into going to a 'hospital' where they tie the child down and shock them for 30 minutes at a time... There's no way that doesn't leave mental scars.

Re:Doesn't hurt them? (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 4 years ago | (#28705323)

Why would you need to trick the child to go anywhere? Just give him/her two nails and leave alone in a room with a 220V outlet.

Re:Doesn't hurt them? It is disappointing (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 4 years ago | (#28707415)

That parents have to deceive their kids. Then, it's a social ill that some of these games actually replace other outlets.

I first read about this last week, on the 9th (no, i never bothered submitting, because nothing i ever suggested for submission gets posted by /.)

http://www.itworld.com/internet/70777/chinese-web-addicts-get-boot-camp-therapy [itworld.com]

Personally, though, i think some form of boot camp needs to be here in the US, but not just for gaming. LOTS of anti-social behaviors could be addressed. At least for those who are averse to getting away from long-session gaming. I personally broke my addictions to Half-Life, Counterstrike, Soldier of Fortune, and Longbow Apache in 2004 when i donated my joysticks, media, and pedals to Goodwill before taking my trip to Japan. I also gave away the supporting hardware. It's been QUITE a relief to not be sitting like a zombie in my chair from Friday 22200 thru Sunday 2100...

Re:Doesn't hurt them? (5, Informative)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 4 years ago | (#28705169)

The most prevalent "shock therapy" currently in use in the US is electro-convulsive therapy (ECT). It is used to treat major depression that is not responsive to drugs. It has nothing to do with retrieving or "erasing" memories, only with zapping the brain in hopes that neurochemical imbalances will be alleviated during its recovery from the trauma (shock), and hopefully for some time after.

Re:Doesn't hurt them? (3, Insightful)

BabyDuckHat (1503839) | more than 4 years ago | (#28708159)

Which is evidence that, when it come to the mind, we're still just cavemen bashing things with rocks.

Re:Doesn't hurt them? (1)

Lotana (842533) | more than 4 years ago | (#28709547)

What is your alternative to treating such a severe depression that we have no other means for? Just do nothing and let them kill themselves? Lobotomy? Euthanize them?

Depression ranks as one of the most horrific ailment I can think of. Even if there is some small chance to help those patients, then we should do all we can. It might be crude, it probably does quite a bit of damage that will affect quality of life later, but it is a hell of a lot better than the alternative. I know that if I had a condition like that with no other alternatives, I would certainly undergo any controversial or experimental treatment available no matter if the rest view it as "barbaric" or "primitive". Even if it will not help at all, at lest hopefully something would be learned from it and a treatment developed/refined for patients that follow.

Re:Doesn't hurt them? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28710189)

babyduckhat didn't say that it was wrong to use the tool if it works, just that it was equivalent to bashing things with rocks. It shouldn't be news that bashing things with rocks works. I've bashed things with rocks as an alternative to a hammer when none was available and I needed to hammer a nail, or break things open that I might have otherwise sawed open etc. My sister once used a rock as an alternative to her car keys. It's not the ideal way to get the car door open, but it works. You just have to replace the window afterwards. Hmm, sticking to bashing things with rocks as an automotive tool, my girlfriend had a car once that had a dying start motor and bashing it with something would get it to start. Usually a length of steel pipe was used, but a rock was used a few times. So, to sum up: Ugh, rock good, but specialized instrument designed for purpose better! Ugh!

Re:Doesn't hurt them? (1)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | more than 4 years ago | (#28705339)

I know I'm probably prejudiced but electro-shock therapy sounds too much like torture to me. Maybe it's because it has been used as torture in the past, maybe it's because it had the effect of being torture even if the therapy sort of worked, or maybe it's just because there are too many guys I've met online who wanted me to do that to them. Let's just say I have an aversion to it. I have PTSD and tend to suffer from depression and I am currently going for treatment, but I'll have to say no to electro-shock.

Re:Doesn't hurt them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28707893)

IASAP [I am still a psychologist]. ECT is not really torture when done properly. The person is well sedated and experiences no pain. The most common side-effects are fatigue and amnesia (look up Larry Squire's early work if you want to know more about the memory troubles). Neither side-effect is trivial, and repeated ECT is believed to cause brain damage. As far as I know, it is never, ever, ever used as first- or even second-line therapy; it's more of a last resort. It does seem to work in some people, though I confess it makes me uncomfortable to think about it.

Re:Doesn't hurt them? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28705491)

>>The idea is that you shock the brain while it is remembering the dramatic memory, cuasing the brain to either fail to store the >>memory or to store the memory without the emotional content.

What a load of crap. This is not how it's done. ECT (electro-convulsive therapy) is done while the patient is asleep. Nothing to do with shocking the brain during specific memories.

As an aside, amnesia is a common side effect of ECT. I should know, I've lost 9 months of memories from a few years back due to ECT. I do not recommend ECT to those who are suffering from depression as benefits seem to be short term and amnesia long term. At least they were in my case. A few good books by Pema Chodron were much more effective.

Re:Doesn't hurt them? (2, Informative)

EricTheMad (603880) | more than 4 years ago | (#28706287)

The biggest problem here is that it was used as a form of punishment. It was basically torture, not therapy.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-07/14/content_8426874.htm [chinadaily.com.cn]

According to the Guangdong-based Information Times, shocks were given if patients broke any of the center's 86 rules, which included prohibitions on eating chocolate, locking the bathroom door, taking pills before a meal, and sitting in Dr. Yang's chair without permission.

Re:Doesn't hurt them? (1)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 4 years ago | (#28706515)

Indeed.

Electro Convulsive Therapy relies on inducing a siezure via small electric currents through the brain. There is no benefit to shocking someone for 30 minutes: the seizure can be induced in seconds. Furthermore, the patient does not need to be awake (and indeed it is better not to be awake, as anasthetic and paralytic drugs will take care of the unpleasant effects of the seizure).

So either China's psychiatry is in the dark ages, "shock therapy" is misinterpreted, or the bloggers are full of shit.

Re:Doesn't hurt them? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#28706871)

I wouldn't say there's nothing wrong with it. It's effects are fully identical to a closed skull head trauma (literally, it's just like being knocked unconscious with a bat). As a very last resort in sufficiently serious cases it might be better than no treatment at allbut I wouldn't say there's nothing wrong with it.

Re:Doesn't hurt them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28708057)

Done correctly there's nothing inherently wrong with that kind of shock therapy, it's even made something of a minor resurgance in the US for treating PTSD and depression. The idea is that you shock the brain while it is remembering the dramatic memory, cuasing the brain to either fail to store the memory or to store the memory without the emotional content.

I have never heard of such a thing, and a quick Google search yields no supporting evidence. There are certainly cases of doctors using various drugs (such as propranolol) to try to block/inhibit/weaken memories. The evidence so far is a bit weak, as far as I know. Here's one paper for people who are interested:

Pltman. R. K., et al. (2002). Pilot study of secondary prevention of posttraumatic stress disorder with propranolol. Biological Psychiatry, 51, 189-192. [wiley.com]

pic (3, Insightful)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 4 years ago | (#28704563)

Honestly, this seems like another human rights abuse... people should have the right to choose if they want to go through shock therapy!

but did we really require the big pic there?

Re:pic (5, Funny)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 4 years ago | (#28704677)

Honestly, this seems like another human rights abuse... people should have the right to choose if they want to go through shock therapy!

The right to an informed choice. But can someone in the throes of internet addiction really be said to be making a choice? This is why we keep shocking 'em until they consent to it. That's the begining of the path to recovery.

Re:pic (3, Insightful)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28705849)

You're modded funny by some people actually think that way, and not just about internet addiction, but pretty much anything deemed "undesireable" by society at large. Nails that stick out get nailed down, as they say... so be a good polite model citizen and you won't get "re-educated". This is hardly unique to china. Forced treatment exists in the US too, especially with teenagers.

Re:pic (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#28705615)

people should have the right to choose if they want to go through shock therapy!

      Yes, just like you get to choose the duration of your sentence, your cell mate, and the color of your cell when you commit a crime in your country. /sarcasm

      I'm not defending China for this (they themselves seem to be upset at the practice), but laws are different everywhere and if you commit a "crime", you have to pay the price, be it getting your ass caned, shocked or in the case of the US, raped.

Re:pic (2, Interesting)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 4 years ago | (#28706495)

This kind of reminds me of an article I read some time ago in the Wall Street Journal regarding how mental illness is treated in China. Parents that can't afford healthcare for their mentally-ill children lock them up in cages, while some that can have been duped to going to hospitals for treatment, only to scar (or nearly kill) their children even further and be completely, shit-out-of-luck broke. One of these operations involved removing parts of the patient's brain outright.

I wish I could find these articles; they were great reads (though a bit sensational).

Reminds me of the scene from Ghostbusters.... (1)

quangdog (1002624) | more than 4 years ago | (#28704579)

For those of you who have never seen this movie (am I really that old? ) this scene involved Bill Murray's character administering shock treatments as negative reinforcement when the test subject was unable to guess what was printed on the other side of a card he held up.

He tests some poor schmoe who gets close to half of them right, but he gets shocked on every card anyway.

Then he tests a potential future girlfriend and never shocks her at all, even though she misses every card.

Shock therapy as a way to screen your dates. Interesting concept.

Now get off my lawn!

Re:Reminds me of the scene from Ghostbusters.... (1)

maeka (518272) | more than 4 years ago | (#28704661)

if only the shocks being talked about in this story were so mild, and so harmlessly administered.

Re:Reminds me of the scene from Ghostbusters.... (5, Insightful)

Utini420 (444935) | more than 4 years ago | (#28704693)

Everyone brings up that scene as if Vaikman was messing up his experiment just to flirt with the chick, but that ignores his true brilliance. Sure, he fudges the test for her -- she clearly is not psychic, she's just there as a control, so it really doesn't matter if she ever gets shocked or not. It isn't like he's testing electrocution of normal folks. But as for the guy, how is seemingly shocked for giving the right answers -- that's the whole experiment. Vaikman even says so: "I'm studying the effects of negative reinforcement on ESP ability." In other words, will you keep being psychic even if you get electrocuted for it.

Re:Reminds me of the scene from Ghostbusters.... (1)

Hyppy (74366) | more than 4 years ago | (#28704901)

I have never before put that much thought into a scene from Ghostbusters, nor will I ever again.

Re:Reminds me of the scene from Ghostbusters.... (2, Informative)

damontal (806788) | more than 4 years ago | (#28705019)

I just watched it again and they're both getting the answers wrong. only the girl isn't being shocked, whereas the guy is. the only one he gets correct is the last one (a couple of squiggly lines) before freaking out and leaving.

Re:Reminds me of the scene from Ghostbusters.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28706431)

thats not how negative reinforcment works... so im sorry, but your thinking is wrong...

negative reinforcement is REMOVING a stimuli every time, until the desired result is achieved..

positive reinforcement, you are aadding a stimuli (elctro shock), until the desired result is achieved...

so by the proper definition.. he was testing positive reinforcement on the guy, and negative reinforcement on the girl...

since he was ADDING stimuli for him, and denying her of it..

the words positive, and negative in this context have nothing to do with GOOD and BAD...

read a book before you post next time

Re:Reminds me of the scene from Ghostbusters.... (1)

ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) | more than 4 years ago | (#28708029)

But as for the guy, how is seemingly shocked for giving the right answers -- that's the whole experiment. Vaikman even says so: "I'm studying the effects of negative reinforcement on ESP ability." In other words, will you keep being psychic even if you get electrocuted for it.

Technically, he's studying the effect of

punishment on ESP ability. Punishment and negative reinforcement are two different things.

But anyway, I still look at it differently. I think the test of ESP is not "can you percieve what is on the card" but rather, "can you percieve that the experimentor is fucking with you?"

In which case, I'd posit that he passed.

Oh, I get it "sparked controversy" (3, Insightful)

dmomo (256005) | more than 4 years ago | (#28704581)

In other news... "Internet addicts treated with electricity". The real story here is that this is there to be banned in the first place.

Re:Oh, I get it "sparked controversy" (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#28704911)

well your obviously addicted to the internet. If you access Google USA. because everything you need is on Google China.

suspicious (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28704617)

Is this to cure internet addiction or a reason to punish those that bypassed chinas censorship... hmmmm

Before anyone asks about Western shock therapy... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28704657)

When electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is used in psychiatric settings here in the West, patients are completely unconscious and pumped full of muscle relaxants to keep them from jumping all over the table. Since they're unconscious, they feel no pain.. completely different from what the Chinese seem to be doing, which seeks to use electric shock as painful punishment for too much WOW.
Needless to say, I didn't RTFA.

Re:Before anyone asks about Western shock therapy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28705623)

If western-style ECT were being used on the Chinese WOW addicts, they wouldn't remember the event, and wouldn't be complaining about it. They would be happily going about their business, though in a slightly dazed fashion.

A thing about ECT is that it wipes recent memories in a retrograde fashion. Memories of the most recent events are wiped first, then as more current is applied, less recent memories begin to disappear. If it is felt that a patient would be better off without memory of a recent traumatic event, ECT is sometimes applied to wipe it.

Re:Before anyone asks about Western shock therapy. (2, Informative)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28705995)

This isn't ECT. This appears to be aversion therapy. Just because it's done wrong and the shocking last long doesn't make it any different. The same has happened at Judge Rotenberg Center [motherjones.com] in the United States where a slightly more brutal form is used (kids permanently strapped to devices triggered by remote control).

Re:Before anyone asks about Western shock therapy. (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 4 years ago | (#28710247)

I have a friend who went through ECT for severe depression. Given she was sectioned into a psychiatric hospital by her parents without consent, I'd be hard pressed to say her ECT was with informed consent, or even if it was overall a positive force in her life, the side effects have been pretty traumatic for her. Not to mention the effect it had on her realitionship with her family.

She was over 21 when she was committed, with a university degree and had been holding down a job as webmaster for a Teir 1 bank in Australia.

More like Ineffective (2, Insightful)

TTURabble (1164837) | more than 4 years ago | (#28704663)

The hospital drew wide media coverage in recent months after Internet users claiming to have received the treatment wrote in blogs and forums

So the internet addicted patients used the internet to complain about the problems with the internet addiction treatment?

Re:More like Ineffective (1)

Niris (1443675) | more than 4 years ago | (#28704831)

Yeah I was thinking that too. Wonder how much of the treatment they received though, and if they got anything other than shock therapy other than cuddle/talking time. Shock therapy as a whole seems like bullshit to me though, like those damn Rorschach ink blots that were slashdotted yesterday.

Re:More like Ineffective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28705353)

You beat me to saying this.

Re:More like Ineffective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28708795)

Should have shocked them by showing the shocker [goatse.fr]. Much more effective, 9 out of 10 ex-internet addicts recommend it.

Quacks (3, Informative)

Demonantis (1340557) | more than 4 years ago | (#28704691)

That is not shock treatment. The currently accepted method of shock therapy is designed to treat epilepsy. They were using it for negative reinforcement. Its just as effective as torturing someone. This is definitely a human rights violation and the genius behind this should be punished.

Re:Quacks (2, Informative)

Hyppy (74366) | more than 4 years ago | (#28704937)

According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], it is also used for various psychological disorders, including depression and schizophrenia.

Re:Quacks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28705797)

Actually, electroshock therapy is used to treat mental illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia. It is not used to treat epilepsy. The purpose of the treatment is, in fact, to induce a seizure, not to prevent seizures.

Re:Quacks (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#28706465)

There are multiple types of electroshock therapy. electro-convulsive is only one type. Another type called vagus nerve stimulation (which uses an implanted device similar to a pacemaker) is used to treat certain types of epilepsy, as well as treatment-resistant depression.

don't believe it (1)

sugarmotor (621907) | more than 4 years ago | (#28704701)

I don't believe the story. Sounds too silly and arbitrary

Stephan

Re:don't believe it (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28706057)

If it goes on the the US [motherjones.com] it can certainly go on in the United States.

Re:don't believe it (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28706117)

doh!! I meant "can certainly go on in China". Where is the edit button when you need it.

Re:don't believe it (1)

sugarmotor (621907) | more than 4 years ago | (#28706433)

Typo or no typo, edit button or no edit button; if it goes on in the US, the story can certainly also be made up in the US.

Stephan

Re:don't believe it (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28706545)

Either you're hopelessly naive and have too much faith in society of you have a kid in a program (WWASP, perhaps?). Abuse can happen in any program in any country. The above referenced article and others on this particular program are very well source. One kid was shocked several thousand times in a single day. In another case, another kid was shocked as a result of a prank call into the facility in which a person posed as a staff and ordered the shocks. There was video tape of these things happening until when requested by the state they were destroyed by JRC. Do your own research and you'll find this is accurate.

Re:don't believe it (1)

sugarmotor (621907) | more than 4 years ago | (#28706975)

I'm not questioning what happens in the US. I'm questioning the story about "China's internet addicts".

In fact, I have heared of such programs carried out by medical doctors (as you linked to http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2007/08/school-shock [motherjones.com]), but curiously only in connection with the USA. Do you have references for other countries?

Stephan

Re:don't believe it (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28707109)

There is one in Canada [www.cbc.ca], not with shock therapy, but with cult like tactics that came from the united states. I'm American and I have nothing against the US, but the whole "addiction treatment for teens" trend originated and became popular in the US. It stands to reason most of the programs are US based. Sure there have been thousands of documented instances of severe abuse and even death but for the most part the state does nothing because it's seen as somehow a "necessary evil". I don't doubt that it can happen in China, not specifically because I have any direct evidence, but because I believe the eyewitness accounts to be both credible and plausible in light of what has happened in the US.

Re:don't believe it (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28707137)

There are also several US based programs overseas owned by WWASP. They're so bad the US Dept of State has put out warnings about them but unfortunately the us govt has no jurisdiction since the abuse takes place off us soil. Google "paradise cove samoa" or "tranquility bay".

Re:don't believe it (1)

sugarmotor (621907) | more than 4 years ago | (#28707271)

Yes ok, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Wide_Association_of_Specialty_Programs_and_Schools [wikipedia.org] says,

The World Wide Association Of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASPS or WWASP) is an organization based in Utah, in the United States

Do you have references for other countries that are not connected to the USA?

Stephan

Re:don't believe it (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28707359)

Nope. All roads that I know of lead to Synanon [rickross.com], the originator of these programs. Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if there is some connection from US programs to this Chinese program but I have no proof of that. What is it, specifically, that makes you doubt that this could happen in China?

To rephrase Spinaltap... (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 4 years ago | (#28704713)

...Ours go to 11 amps.

This seems like a great way to create psychological maladjustment.

Presuming, of course, you do not already consider "internet addiction" to be maladjustment.

Why is this posted under games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28704721)

The Chinese dude in the picture sure isn't enjoying the game.

Definition of "internet addiction" (1)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 4 years ago | (#28704795)

I wonder if the symptoms of "internet addiction" the authorities look for include 'seeking inaccurate information' from 'undesirable sites' or possibly 'spreading rumours' or 'inciting unrest'?

We have a winner! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28705133)

Congratulations! You got it. Where do we send your free beer and pizza?

Re:Definition of "internet addiction" (1)

Beerdood (1451859) | more than 4 years ago | (#28706035)

Most likely. On a similar note, it's interesting how in 50+ years of television, there is virtually no concept of television addiction (compare Television Addiction [wikipedia.org] to Internet Addiction [wikipedia.org] on Wikipedia). If kids are spending 30 hours a week watching corporate, main stream media there's no problem. But if these kids spend that same amount of time not being bombarded by advertisements playing WoW, or if there's a chance they're reading "liberal propaganda" or un-godly sites, well that's an addiction. Better send em in for treatment.

Re:Definition of "internet addiction" (1)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 4 years ago | (#28709693)

Most likely. On a similar note, it's interesting how in 50+ years of television, there is virtually no concept of television addiction (compare Television Addiction [wikipedia.org] to Internet Addiction [wikipedia.org] on Wikipedia).

I disagree. Until the Internet became popular, "concerned groups" were always banging on about children getting "square eyes" from watching too much TV, and still there is the meme of the "couch potato", watching TV all the time and becoming a fat, lazy slob; a drain on society. Note how someone who sits reading books is not stereotyped in this way.
I'm not surprised that Wikipedia has more material about "Internet Addiction"; after all it is a website, maintained by people with a keen interest in such matters, and 'excessive TV watching' has not been discussed much since the dawn of Wikipedia at least.
Full disclosure: I watch around 2 hours of TV per week, only at weekends

If they wanted REAL shock therapy (1, Insightful)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 4 years ago | (#28704829)

Why didn't they just randomly replace images requested by the "addict"'s computer with goatse?

That's a shock therapy that would actually work.

Re:If they wanted REAL shock therapy (1)

vintagepc (1388833) | more than 4 years ago | (#28706785)

That was my first thought too- "Shock therapy" as in electrocution, or shock therapy as in repeated viewings of goatse&friends - and I agree with parent- that would work better... There are MANY sites that are pretty darn effective at wanting to unplug your PC permanently and curl up in a corner.

A Clockwork Orange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28704887)

Next stop, Beethoven's Ode to Joy...

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28705381)

I, for one, am shocked!

What really happened... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28705515)

Some random "professor" (name omitted) started advertising a way to treat Internet addiction by electrically shocking his subjects.
More ridiculously, there were actually quite a handful of parents who paid thousands of dollars sending their kids to his "addiction camp".
Several months later, the government finally took action, and rumor had it that the guy didn't pay the communist party well enough.

There is no such thing as Internet addiction, but only the stupidity of Chinese parents.

More Questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28705525)

This really raises the question: Is the internet a viable addiction? I think it's worthwhile to look at a person's patterns. How does your internet use mirror or not mirror that of an addict?

I have my doubts, but the question is worth asking and I'd like to hear your opinions.

I completely disagree with the electrocution, as it has been scientifically proven to do more harm than good to any mind, especially by just randomly jolting the brain.

Re:More Questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28709055)

Is the internet a viable addiction?

I have been pondering this for a while. I'm trying to decide which addiction is best for me. There's something irresistibly chic about heroin, but I'm a little shy about needles. Smoking makes you look cool, but it's not really taking (yet). But since I've already got a computer at home, I'm thinking internet addiction might be the way to go.

Alternative treatments (1)

Beerdood (1451859) | more than 4 years ago | (#28705857)

Now that this is banned, where will those parents send those kids to treat this "disorder"? How long before Pfizer creates Zinternex - a new drug used to help combat internet addiction? (Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, anal leakage, acne, etc... etc...)

Shocked! (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#28705895)

after Internet users claiming to have received the treatment wrote in blogs and forums about being tied down and subjected to shocks for 30 minutes at a time

Wow. There's a shock. Not only was it unethical; it was also ineffective.

The truth is... (1)

Sponters (777185) | more than 4 years ago | (#28706021)

... the therapy was banned because it didn't work, as after 30 minutes of shock, the pacients ran to write about it in INTERNET forums and blogs.

No alternative medicines ? (1)

bonedog73 (982895) | more than 4 years ago | (#28706029)

Here I thought China was all about old school alternative medicines like acupuncture and the like. Electro shock treatments seem barbaric in my mind. No ancient chinese remedy for you internet addicts round here. We shock you!

Not unexpected... (1)

autoevolution (1519077) | more than 4 years ago | (#28706077)

Since the once child per family policy I'd imagine that children are pressured a lot to be successful in their studies, and is important enough for parents to shock their kids out of Wow so they can study more. I think this is a sign of changing times in china to a more modern social landscape, where internet use is widespread. The parents in China who send their kids to get shock treatments in this article probably never had access to internet or computers in their teens so they don't understand why their kids are spending a lot of time on computers. I think this is more of a clash between the old and the new, the "internet-addicted" children representing western social landscape and the anti-internet-addiction side representing the older generations which were stricter.

Obviously it didn't work (1)

z80kid (711852) | more than 4 years ago | (#28707017)

...after Internet users claiming to have received the treatment wrote in blogs and forums about being tied down and subjected to shocks for 30 minutes at a time."

They received electric shocks for Internet addiction, and then rushed right out to blog about it?

I'd say that's a pretty good indication that their condition is hopeless.....

Banned only in some cases? (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#28708585)

World of Warcraft addiction is now no longer treated with shock therapy. More severe cases of internet abuse, such as an addiction to writing overly uppity blog entries, on the other hand...

suppose they'll have to resort to other methods (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#28710237)

In other news Hospital in Shandong ceases shock treatments for Internet Addiction, due to ban, starts performing full frontal Lobotomies [wikipedia.org] instead, claims the procedure is 98% effective at quashing internet addictions.

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