back to article Internet addict sent to an anti-addiction boot camp is no longer an addict. Because he's dead

Staff at one of China's internet addiction clinics have been arrested after a teenager sent there for rehabilitation was found dead after 48 hours. The 18-year-old was sent to the camp at the turn of the month by his parents who were in despair at the amount of time he was spending online. The center in in Fuyang city claims …

  1. PhilipN Silver badge

    Tragic, but what are parents thinking?

    I no longer gasp in horror when I see a tiny tot in a pushchair gazing at a tablet screen 3 inches from his nose. The same littl'un will similarly be playing games with his eyes glued to a larger tablet a couple of years later while "out" for a meal with the parents.

    And a few years more will live in online social media with their "friends", followers and online idols.

    Obviously something evil was done to this poor kid, but if parents seek respite from bawling infants by shoving screens in front of them at the first opportunity what do they expect?

    Larkin's acerbic poem about parents springs to mind far too often these days. Or was it ever thus?

    1. vir

      Re: Tragic, but what are parents thinking?

      David Foster Wallace's prescient 1996 magnum opus Infinite Jest, which concerns entertainment, addiction, and a fatally-engrossing film also seems to be more applicable by the day:

      "...what if a viewer could more or less 100% choose what's on at any given time?...what if the viewer could become her/his own programming director; what if s/he could define the very entertainment-happiness it was her/his right to pursue?" - David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest

    2. Long John Brass

      Re: Tragic, but what are parents thinking?

      Most parents don't think; That's how they ended up parents in the first place.

      Don't have any loin fruit myself, but have friends that do... They all manage the screen time the fresh faced little bastards get. When I was but a nipper it was TV time used as the heavy cudgel of oppression. For the moppets I know its tablet time/network access.

      Bow before me and weep, for I have the WiFi password :)

      Isn't it a teenagers right of passage to over indulge in things? Beer, Bong and Broads? or if they are well off wine, women and song?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tragic, but what was Long John Brass thinking?

        "Don't have any loin fruit myself,.......and thus have no experience whatsoever upon which to base my comments. I'll therefore throw in some generalisations and polite mockery, and thus be qualified to speak my branes."


        1. Long John Brass

          Re: Tragic, but what was Long John Brass thinking?

          Nice Ad-hominem attack there Mr Anonymous Coward.

          Anything in the actual content of my post you wish to debate/discuss?

          Or did mommy take your WiFi password away :)

    3. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Tragic, but what are parents thinking?

      "I no longer gasp in horror when I see a tiny tot in a pushchair gazing at a tablet screen 3 inches from his nose. "

      I would've agreed with you on this line, but I saw something once and it's changed my whole outlook on the subject of giving children (especially little toddlers etc) devices such as phones or tablets.

      In the UK, Channel 4 ran a show called "The Secret Life of 4/5/6 Year Olds". It was fascinating. Camera's were allowed in to a playgroup and two experts watched them and gave commentary about what's going on socially in the group as well as their development.

      On the 4 year old version, there were two children. A boy and a girl. The girl spoke very well. If I didn't see her but heard her speak I'd have thought she was 6 or 7, she was very eloquent. The boy, however, didn't speak much. When he did, he didn't make much sense. The expert eluded to this as that the child doesn't seem to have had much in the way of conversation, and you could see with the kid's background that he had older brothers and he was fascinated by computer games. The expert said that by the time he goes to school and is aged 6 he'll have caught up with the rest of his peers.

      Since then I've taken an interest in how parents interact with their children in public. I remember the one kid crying etc for attention. The mother just took her phone out and said "Here play with Angry Birds". Kid shut up and started playing. I'm not judging anyone, but you can't substitute human contact with an inanimate object*.

      *Polly Your Polythene Pal also counts as an inanimate object, I'm sorry.

      1. Aladdin Sane

        Re: Tragic, but what are parents thinking?

        On the 4 year old version, there were two children

        Sample size too small, not possible to draw any reliable conclusions.

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          Re: Tragic, but what are parents thinking?

          "Sample size too small, not possible to draw any reliable conclusions."

          50% of the 100% tested had crap linguistics.


        2. Baldrickk

          RE: Sample size too small,

          two individuals shown as an example by an expert who presumably has done / studied pure research on the subject.

  2. A-nonCoward

    Yeah, chill, like the Chinese can homeschool if they want

    or Montessori is one of many school choices there.

    Baby, you don't pass them exams, you toast.

  3. Tim Seventh

    Parenting 101

    Just like one of my older post, please take care of your kids.

    Obvious they didn't and hate to say it they've received their Darwin Award. Surely the kid got exposed to the internet somehow, and the parents should have guided him. Remember, kids do things for a reason. In this case, it should be due to boredom. The parents could have provided alternatives to assist him from his boredom if they insist. Personally, it would be far better to integrate the benefit of the internet as a massive library with the potential to learn more than being offline. Also, I highly doubt parents drag their kids from the library when their are busy learning science, research or whatnot.

    Then again, his is 18 years old. That's not a kid, but a young-adult. Shouldn't he be working or in college? The parents could have kicked him out or just gave him dialed-up internet and told him to work to get better internet or something. That would have somewhat fixed his addiction in exchange for something productive easily.

    1. OldCrow

      Re: Parenting 101

      The trick is to give the kids something constructive to do, literally. The opportunity to create something.

      But that's hard to do even here. The only creativity-encouraging toy I can find in the shop is LEGOs. There are no longer any "Little Chemist" or similar experimentation sets available. You couldn't even weave wicker baskets if you wanted to, unless you live somewhere with ready access to suitable raw materials direct from nature; no shop sells them. And under-18s don't shop in eBay.

      And if that's hard here, where I can access eBay, imagine what it's like in the metropolii of mainland China.

      So can you blame the young ones? When the alternatives are electronic entertainment, and getting bored out of their minds?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Parenting 101

        "So can you blame the young ones? When the alternatives are electronic entertainment, and getting bored out of their minds?"

        There are other alternatives. My son took an interest in horticulture and grew some very interesting plants in the garage. He gained a lot of friends too. And they all laughed a lot which is nice to see.

        1. Sgt_Oddball

          Re: Parenting 101

          Would I be right in thinking hydroponics and large lights were involved?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Parenting 101

            "Would I be right in thinking hydroponics and large lights were involved?"

            That's right. It was very interesting. A school biology project apparently.

        2. OldCrow

          Re: Parenting 101

          @ AC

          >"My son took an interest in horticulture and grew some very interesting plants in the garage."

          This assumes having a garage, which puts you in the... something percentile.

          We, the proles, do not have a garage. In fact, I do not own (or directly rent) a single piece of land. I have an apartment, in a complex of 300+ apartments.

          I have 78 m2 in which to express myself (in Finland). UK average is 76 m2. Hong Kong average is 45 m2. I have seen families live in less than 20 m2. I have heard from the news that there are apartments of less than 2 m3 (yes, cubic) in China.

          And you can forget trying to use the public areas for anything constructive in places like Beijing.

      2. mrdalliard

        Re: Parenting 101

        >>But that's hard to do even here. The only creativity-encouraging toy I can find in the shop is LEGOs.

        The plural of LEGO is LEGO.

        That is all.

        1. danya02

          Re: Parenting 101

          >The plural of LEGO is LEGO.

          Since we're all invoking Pedantic Mode, it should be noted that The LEGO Group requests that the word LEGO be used as a qualifier; that is to say, to describe the pieces that you use to assemble stuff are called neither LEGOs nor LEGO, but *LEGO bricks*.

          1. ukgnome

            Damn the lego group

            Of course everyone is free to comply with these corporate demands, but the Lego Group has no authority over the English language to regulate it in this way. So if you want to feel guilty about using “Legos”, understand that the only thing you are guilty of is not obeying the demands of a Danish corporation, not for violating the rules of English grammar.

            1. PNGuinn

              Re: Damn the lego group

              C'mon, Commentards, Pluralz of legoz.

              You just KNOW you want to!

  4. JJKing

    A preventable disease.

    Maybe they need to add a new word to their language, affluenza. In the previous one child state, the child, especially if it was a boy, was pampered like a little prince. Just look at how the young of the ultra wealthy behave, the self entitled twats.

  5. Kaltern

    There's no mention of what he was doing online. Was he watching state sanctioned porn? Or was he, more likely, using state sanctioned social media. Could he have been a troubled kid, with social anxiety issues, using the internet as a means to maintain some form of social interaction, albeit in digital form? Could cutting him off from his only connection to the outside world have driven his already fragile state of mind over the edge?

    None of these things are ever considered, because the stereotypical 'boy in the basement' image is almost always applied to people like him. Could he have secretly been working one of those time-consuming online jobs to make a bit of yen? Maybe he was playing an online game like the Koreans do, and took it a bit too far?

    Who knows. All I DO know is that virtually all of the West spend a LOT more time online that the previous generation did, and I imagine they spent more time online than the last.

    The internet isn't a form of addiction - the specific actions that can be taken ON the internet is possibly addictive. And noone seems to know what this guy did, that was enough to send him to a place that ended up killing him. Who's really to blame? The 18 yr old for whatever he was doing? Or the centre for not recognising a vulnerable young adult?

    1. Baldrickk

      the West spend a LOT more time online that the previous generation did

      You don't have to go back far to not have the net at all.

      It's like after the Model T came out, someone were to say "the current generation spend a lot more time driving than the previous generation"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The 'Internet' was created in 1994, alot of people didn't 'Get Internet' until much later in 90's some into the 00's.

      t'Internet hasn't been around that long lad!

  6. Slx

    Strange how nobody ever gets treated for book addiction. Yet people get lost in novels for hours and even days at a time.

    That being said, I don't think that anyone should be making light of a young guy being killed in a boot camp in an authoritarian state.

    Whatever happened, it sounds absolutely horrific.

  7. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    And yet no-one has mentioned...

    The issue here is not what he was allegedly being cured of: it's that the 'caring' place where he was sent to be 'cured' took him in fit and healthy and killed him with violence in two days... for his own good, of course.

  8. samzeman

    The Internet Is Actually Good

    I grew up from the age of 8 online (I'm young for this demographic, I know) and I'd like to say spending 5 hours a day on a computer made me who I am. That is, ambitious, albeit disconnected, but friendly. I hope.

    The more sources of conversation or social interaction you have the better your own will be. I can write well because I've read lots of books from a young age. I can converse, online or in person, because I've spent a lot of time reading other people's conversations. Social aspects of the internet are engaging, possibly addicting, but only harmful if you lack restraint in ways that would affect you even if you didn't have the internet. It's a booster to whatever negative or positive traits you already have. If you're insecure it'll make you moreso, if you're ambitious or creative it'll make you more so.

    As for tablet/mobile games being used to pacify kids? I do think it's not good if they're in public. If they're at home, they can do what they want, but parents should make sure they're aware of how many hours and if it reaches whatever amount they personally think is right, take the games away and try doing something together with their kids.

    Technology is irreversibly a part of child rearing now. You can't bring someone up the amish way without sheltering them and exposing them to humiliation throughout all of their <18 life as they lag behind culturally. However, as with eating puddings, or cola, or any other questionable-but-unavoidable stimulus, you have to restrain it while they don't have the power to themselves. As a parent you take care of them until they can built up enough mental fortitude to disobey everything in uni and figure out you're actually right without it affecting them psychologically.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned the thriving businesses selling in game currency that you have to farm for. This could be part of the problem.

  10. Alistair

    Key phrase in the article

    "Was covered from head to toe in injuries" "within 48 hours"

    My perspective is that that could take quite some time. Perhaps the injuries predate admission?

    Yes, the local constabulary rounded up the staff, but it is possible that there (is/are) other issues at hand here. Self confidence is shaky in some folks.

    It is a terrible thing to loose a child (at any age) so I do not discard the parent's emotions, but there may be something more than internet addiction at work here.

  11. Trump rulz

    "Over the past few years, both government-run and private internet addiction boot camps have sprouted to meet the demand from anxious moms and pops looking to drive their kids offline. Approaches on this vary from physical exercise and counseling to electro-shock conditioning."

    Sounds just like conversion camps for gay teens...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    the article says the "addict" was "covered in SCARS" and was dead two DAYS after arriving.

    that means those injuries occurred BEFORE he arrived. Scarring doesn't develop in 48 hours. Unless you're a comic book superhero with special healing properties. Covered in scabs maybe, but scars? either we have a translation problem, or a timing problem

  13. GlenP Silver badge

    What about parents...

    Sadly Internet Addiction seems to strike some adults as much as children/teenagers these days.

    Seen at a railway museum at Easter:

    One mother with two pre-teen boys who were creating havoc. Very occasionally she'd look up from her phone and moan at them but that was her sole interaction.

    Fortunately on the other side was another young mother with a 5 or 6 year old, they were going round and she'd be, "Look at this Peter, isn't that interesting?" Youngster was walking round fascinated by everything. There is some hope even if the lad does grow up to be a geek with a model railway*!

    *Takes one to know one.

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