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Can 'boot camp' cure internet addiction? [Copy link] 中文

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In 2008, China became one of the first countries to declare Internet addiction an official medical condition. In China, people who spend more than six hours online doing something other than work or study are defined as Internet Addiction Disorder. Based on the definition, China has over 20 million Internet addicts. The condition has led to the creation of over 250 camps within China. They are designed to treat young addicts.

But is such a boot camp the answer to Internet addiction? If not, what to do with the ever growing number of young people who are addicted to the Internet?
Lorenzo Maccotta,a 33-year-old photographer, spent about a week at one of the hundreds of the military-style boot camps where young Chinese people are quarantined from their compulsive use of technology, mostly online gaming.
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A 15-year-old boy at the center received these letters and pictures from relatives.

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"Internees," as Maccotta calls them, clean their dishes after lunchtime. At the center, they were subjected to discipline and repetition, which the center's leaders said would cure their addiction. They might stay for a few weeks or many months, Maccotta said.

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A 15-year-old has scars on his arm from self-inflicted cigarette burns, Maccotta said.

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The boy on the left had been living at the boot camp in Jinan for four months when Maccotta visited in October.

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"Their personalities are annihilated," Maccotta said. They stay "behind a formal posture of silence and obedience. They don't show any sadness, but I'm sure they miss families and friends."

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A 14-year-old internee spends time in the kitchen. He had been living at the center for two months.

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