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China's Digital Detox

A life reboot for internet gaming addicts

In China, there are rehab boot-camps for internet addiction. They treat it just like alcohol or drug dependency, it’s considered a clinical disorder that can, and should, be cured, even against the patient’s’ will. Teenagers are the most common sufferers of the affliction. 

When their enthusiasm for virtual reality starts to have a negative effect on their studies, family lives and socialisation, the parents conduct an intervention. A ruse is devised to lure the addicts to a camp, invariably against their will. There they remain confined until their internet obsession is under control.

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RT Doc visited a camp to see how internet addicts are re-introduced to the real world. We spoke to the patients to hear their side of the story, as well as their parents.  Because of China’s history of ‘one child’ policy, they’re willing to pay a hefty price to have their only offspring treated, they’re also required to attend classes themselves to relearn how to communicate with their escapist young.

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An obsession with online gaming or net surfing though is just the tip of the iceberg. The problem is said to be rooted in an array of issues with self-esteem, school and family life. That is why a complex approach is needed to curing internet addiction, addressing its underlying causes. This film provides behind-the-scenes glimpse of an internet addiction rehab camp, offering an inside view of how the condition can be treated.

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