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China could become first nation to make Internet addiction a medical disorder

China is expected to become the first country in the world to officially classify internet addiction as a mental disorder.  Chinese government officials would be required to register the term with the World Health Organization, which has seen an increased interest in internet- and game-related addiction.

Around 253 million of China's 1.2 billion population use the internet, with the number expected to grow as remote parts of the country build necessary infrastructure to support the internet.

Dr. Tao Ran studied at least 3,000 patients over a four-year period to help him classify internet addiction, which will be a condition similar to alcoholism or compulsive gambling.  

A person who spends at least 6.13 hours online each day can be considered an addict.  InterActiveCorp research indicates 42 percent of young internet users feel they are addicted to the internet, while only 18 percent of American youth feel they are addicted.

Around 50 percent of internet users in China are between the ages of 18 and 30.

Due to the exploding popularity of online video games, the government has urged game makers to create safeguards to better protect gamers.

"We took symptoms that appeared at the same time in more than 50 percent of patients and then we noted how frequently these same symptoms were repeated," he told the Times Online.  "China finds itself at the forefront of this research because we were among the earliest to set up clinics ... we had a sufficient sample of patients so that we could carry out proper scientific analysis.

Special psychiatric units could be created in Chinese hospitals to help people who are said to be internet addicts.

Even if internet addiction does not become an official disorder, psychologists are expected to continue researching possible addicts, and how to treat it.



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What a load...
By MrBlastman on 11/12/2008 10:20:58 AM , Rating: 5
Of Commu-Socialistic hogwash. I love how the government there feels it knows what is "best" for its citizens and society when it comes to personal time or social activities. I am glad that I live in the United States and we don't have to put up with this here (yet).

How do they justify their rationale behind Internet addiction when:

a. Many people used to spend hours a day reading the paper
b. Many people sit on their tails and watch fake friends on television for hours a day
c. Some people like to constantly talk on the phone with people they know
d. Some people like to spend hours a day in the gym
e. Some people like to enroll their kids in every sport known to man and bus them around everywhere
f. Some people like to sit around and think for hours at a time

Are they going to outlaw all of the above as well? Why don't they go the extra mile and delve into completely, full-scale social engineering while they are at it? After all, they are the all loving, all caring government. They are your keeper, your protector, your leader. They really must know what is best for you, right?

I would probably liken "Internet Addiction" as being similar to those who read the paper. I'm one of them - I get the majority of my news from the Internet. According to China though, I would be classified as addicted due to the amount of time I spend online - even if it is staying current with events in the world and various pieces of news which is crucial for my profession. So if I read the paper equally, that would be unhealthy too?

I feel bad for the people in China. At the same time, they do nothing to stop it so perhaps I should not feel bad at all.




RE: What a load...
By austinag on 11/12/2008 10:30:29 AM , Rating: 2
For the most part I agree. I used to spend a lot more time reading the newspaper, now I get my news online. It's just another form of media.
If you want a true internet addiction, you need Stumble Upon.


RE: What a load...
By jimpaka on 11/12/2008 12:18:06 PM , Rating: 3
For anyone who thinks the concept of an internet addiction is bullshit, you're right, it is. This is a perfect example of a government brainwashing its citizens by casting a shadow over some kind of human activity (that does little harm to others) because of its own agenda. It's in China's best interests to keep the people ignorant.

The notion of human 'addiction' has been so grossly beaten to death in western culture alone, that we as a society fear anything that the authorities label an 'addiction' as if it were a disease! Just look at drug issues in the states. Who ever talks about caffeine addiction? Of course they don't, because it's a legal drug that arguably keeps the working class working. Cigarette addiction? Sure plenty of people are trying to quit, but it's not an addiction or a disease, it's just a habit that some consider bad. As soon as you mention marijuana, LSD, MDMA, the general reaction is one of fear because apparrantly these substances lead very quickly to a disease called addiction. It's pathetic. Government shouldn't exist to lead a culture but to organise and help the community that elected it.


RE: What a load...
By Murloc on 11/12/2008 1:29:15 PM , Rating: 2
Chinese world of warcraft farmers and powerlevelers? aren't they addicted?
Some have bots, but I spoke with a chinese farmer once, and he really was addicted.


RE: What a load...
By nosfe on 11/12/2008 1:31:57 PM , Rating: 2
its not addiction for them, its a job, i know, the difference is subtle


RE: What a load...
By Samus on 11/12/2008 7:39:16 PM , Rating: 4
I think any form of web surfing time should be excluded entirely from being considered an addiction. As said, it's just another form of media.

However, spending 10+ hours a day on WoW, CS or Evercrack is another story...


RE: What a load...
By Regs on 11/14/2008 8:29:31 AM , Rating: 3
Soon, I hope, the noble people of China will stand up and over-throw their commi government. China has 1.9 trillion dollars on reserve with people living in shacks and 4 x4 boxes. Most of their country outside of metropolitan areas don't even have running water.

Just one of the reasons why the global economy is sinking. Money hogs and corrupted governments; pleaces we're spending our money on with no return investment.


RE: What a load...
By nosfe on 11/12/2008 10:31:31 AM , Rating: 2
i thought its already happening in the US, video game censoring?


RE: What a load...
By mdogs444 on 11/12/08, Rating: 0
RE: What a load...
By Staples on 11/12/2008 12:38:04 PM , Rating: 2
Ummm.

Why is your post so angry? They are not going to throw you into jail if you are an internet addict (as it sounds like you are).


RE: What a load...
By someguy123 on 11/12/2008 3:44:04 PM , Rating: 2
seriously. While i agree with some of the OP's post, such as TV being just as if not more addictive and detrimental, the chinese aren't talking about going and putting these people into insane asylums. they're just creating locations for people with this "addiction" to get help. OP definitely just read the title and posted without checking the article to see how "addicts" would be affected.

many of the things you list aren't really harmful to your life, but if they reach the point where they ARE then yes i'd consider that an addiction. many people are definitely addicted to using the internet as it supplies them with pretty much everything you could want except direct nourishment, and nowadays with places like safeway shipping to your house you can stay on the internet without ever leaving except to answer the door.


RE: What a load...
By chick0n on 11/12/08, Rating: 0
RE: What a load...
By afkrotch on 11/12/2008 3:55:50 PM , Rating: 2
If you were to go to China, Russia, N.Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, etc can you say they are prospering? Can you say there is a truly classless state?

I don't have to go to these countries to see there is a huge disparity.

How about the forced migration of Chinese? As farm machinery advances, less and less farmers are needed. Not to mention, the importation of goods from other countries. So what does Chinese government do? Forces some of them to move into urban cities. Leaving them unemployed. There's no if's, and's, or but's. The Chinese ppl are not allowed to move from city to city that easily.

Also you have to be there to experience it, how so? Am I treated like an Iraqi if I visit Iraqi? Am I treated like a Nigerian if I visit Nigeria? Am I treated like an Australian if I visit Australia? Of course not, so how the hell do you think I'm going to understand anything about Communism if I visit these countries, if I'm not treated equally? When visiting different countries, you have well padded pockets to afford your stay, scenic tours, and so on. Sitting in Beijing or Moscow in a 5 Star hotel and visiting all the tourist locations is hardly experiencing Communism.


RE: What a load...
By eion on 11/13/2008 12:39:12 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
If you were to go to China... can you say they are prospering?

Absolutely. By way of background, I work in China for a Chinese law firm, the law being an area relatively tightly controlled by the government (in any country, not just here).

quote:
So what does Chinese government do? Forces some of them to move into urban cities.

What you describe is the exact opposite of Chinese government policy (real and stated).

quote:
The Chinese ppl are not allowed to move from city to city that easily.

Moving from city to city has not been a problem for quite some time; the problem was moving from the countryside to a city. After one particularly outrageous case, back in 2003 as I recall, a lot of the controls have been rolled back.

quote:
Also you have to be there to experience it, how so?

Not looking Chinese, this is of course a problem for me. The other 'problem' is that people in China are naturally welcoming of foreigners, and because of that and other reasons, foreigners in China seem in most respects to be treated relatively better than locals, regardless of wealth. That said, I have travelled quite extensively in China with my local friends and colleagues.

The distinction between communism and the Chinese policy of "socialism with Chinese characteristics" is I think a real one, but in any event at street level the country is basically capitalist in my opinion. It certainly is not communist. I would say the China is "classless" in the same way as America is, with social divisions according to wealth instead.

I'm no apologist for the Chinese government, and I'm certainly no communist - I actually vote Libertarian. Just calling it how I see it. I've never been to the other countries you mention though, so I cannot comment on them.


RE: What a load...
By just4U on 11/13/2008 4:54:09 AM , Rating: 2
I found your post here to be very informative. Thumbs up!


RE: What a load...
By MrBlastman on 11/12/2008 4:41:33 PM , Rating: 2
On the opposite side, why don't you experience Capitalism in all its glory before you defend Socialism and Communism?

You really don't have to if you read about what is really going on and how things are structured - and know people that live in these various countries or are from them. It gives you a firsthand account.

I can confidently say that I have more freedom in the USA than I would if I lived in a European nation or Russia/China/Japan/Iran etc. Not even the slightest inclination of be being wrong in the back of my mind.

Why? The number of people wanting to move here has not dropped, it has only increased. That must mean something, right?


RE: What a load...
By lagomorpha on 11/12/2008 5:13:05 PM , Rating: 2
To be fair the bars around here (good old 'merica) are required to close at a certain time of night while the bars in Russia at the height of communism were allowed to stay open 24 hours. Just because we believe we have more freedoms on average than some other nations doesn't mean we should be content only with the freedoms we have.


RE: What a load...
By Reclaimer77 on 11/12/2008 6:21:02 PM , Rating: 2
I think the differences in when bars close between the US and USSR is a kind of.. silly example of freedoms.

Besides, Russia encouraged alcoholism. Big time. A drunk slumbering mass of downtrodden people are far easier to control.


RE: What a load...
By omnicronx on 11/12/2008 6:46:22 PM , Rating: 2
That was productive...


RE: What a load...
By Subzero0000 on 11/12/2008 8:48:19 PM , Rating: 2
All I see is ignorant and hatre in your comments.
You only getting these information from what? The media?

I'm from Hong Kong and it has been mixed influence by the British and China.
Sure I don't prefer China to take over my city, but when you actually experience it, it is actually not all that "Evil".

So when I watched "Bowling in columbine", "Sicko", "Zeitgeist", etc... Should I believe all it's saying?
If I actually believe all of that, I'll say USA is even worst than other countries.

You have to see it in your own eyes.
I'd suggest you to study overseas for at least a year, it's the best way to get close enough to experience the truth.


RE: What a load...
By chick0n on 11/13/2008 10:55:20 AM , Rating: 1
ROFL. I've been living in New York for more than a decade. and From time to time I do travel to China so oh yes I know how both works.

Its narrow minded morons like you who think Capitalism is the best thing since slice bread. US actually did a pretty good job into brainwashing citizens into believe that Capitalism is the one and only way to deal with things.

the US is so Capitalism that they just bail all the companies out. Market Freedom my ass.


RE: What a load...
By MrBlastman on 11/14/2008 9:31:20 AM , Rating: 2
Why don't you just leave if you don't like it here. We won't miss you. I promise. :P


RE: What a load...
By JDHack42 on 11/12/2008 3:56:24 PM , Rating: 5
So when the US started researching internet addiction in the mid 90's, those folks were sicko-pinko commies as well?

http://www.netaddiction.com/articles/newdisorder.h...

Funny story: My roommate did a 3 day bender of Ascheron's Call and missed this prof's class, he claimed internet addiction...


RE: What a load...
By just4U on 11/12/2008 10:28:37 PM , Rating: 2
I think it's all BS. To much of anything you might happen to really like is considered to be a addiction and detrimental. Is it really? Who knows. I'd much rather do the things I enjoy all the time over stuff I don't.. I think that's a given for all of us.

Does it matter? Sure. If your doing to much of something and it's effecting every other area of your life then you have a problem. Hmm, I guess work would fit that catagory for everyone out there to perhaps they should study that addiction.

<shrug> I take it with a grain of salt.


"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis











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