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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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Ignorance and blindness prevails
By NubWobble on 11/12/2008 9:49:44 PM , Rating: 2
The only sane comment in this whole thread has been from Subzero0000. You all claim China is a dictatorial state when the great old US, with all its freedom has... the Patriot Act! Then anti-war demonstrators get arrested in the UK for demonstrating outside of parliament. An 80 year old man gets harrassed and claims to have been beaten up by the police for not stopping with his protests in London.

None of you have any idea what freedom is, that's why you're all claiming to have more freedom than China or any other country, while in fact you have less. I have met many intellectuals who have had to leave the US because those who oppose the government are being actively driven out of the country. One of these is a journalist whose news paper (a small local one) was forcibly shut down, and saw the editor and himself arrested, after he wrote an anti-Bush article.

But that's not what this article is about. This article is about state censorship, which the US also carries out on a mass scale. If no electronic censorship takes place then can someone please tell us why there is a large difference between many games sold in Europe and the US when it comes to gore and pornography? Also this addiction research was initiated in the US in the 90's (as has been stated already) but you people would rather look down on China than accept that it was your own countries who wanted to classify internet users as such. While China and many other countries gain freedom, regardless of how slow it may be, our Western world is hurtling fast towards fascist dictatorships, if they're not one already.

The world doesn't hate the 'West' for its freedom, because it has none. The world hates it for its ignorance.




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