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The Internet Medicine

China Defines Internet Addiction 201

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the one-more-addiction-to-the-list dept.
narramissic writes "Three years after the first clinic dedicated to Internet addiction opened in Beijing, Chinese doctors have now officially defined it as an ailment. Those afflicted with this ailment spend six or more hours a day online and exhibit at least one of the following symptoms: difficulty sleeping or concentrating, yearning to be online, irritation, and mental or physical distress. Do you meet the criteria? You're in good company: About 10 percent of China's 253 million Internet users exhibit some form of addiction to the medium, and 70 percent of those people are young men, an official Xinhua News Agency report said."
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China Defines Internet Addiction

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  • First psot (Score:5, Funny)

    by burtosis (1124179) on Monday November 10, 2008 @04:46PM (#25711745)
    Does this mean I am addicted?
    • Yes (Score:2, Insightful)

      by davidwr (791652)

      How to tell if you are addicted to Slashdot:

      You your recent posting history has more posts than days.

      • by Dan541 (1032000)

        So if I only have 8 days out of 24 posts does that mean I'm addicted?

        • by theaveng (1243528)

          I post around 30 posts every day.* I suppose that makes me an addict, however I disagree with China. Instead I agree with U.S. and EU psychologists who maintain internet addiction is merely a consequence of *already existing* conditions such as obsessive compulsiveness, or loneliness, or poor impulse control.

          The fact that these "flaws" manifest themselves on a computer is no different than if they manifested themselves while reading a book & neglecting sleep, or while constantly talking on the phone,

    • by Zakabog (603757)

      ... how did this get modded off topic? Not only is it really the first post, but he actually makes a humorous reference to the story...

      Anyway, I'm online 8 hours a day at work, but I wouldn't consider myself addicted in any way (although it's different when it's your job since you're generally doing work related stuff and not just sitting around playing WoW or whatever.) I don't fit the other criteria though and I have seen people who do. There definitely exists a possibility of becoming addicted to the

    • Reminds me... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Moraelin (679338)

      Reminds me of the "test" if you need the Guardian's religion in Ultima 7. No matter how you answered the questions, there would be something wrong with you. E.g., if your mother and a small child are drowning, and you can save only one, who do you save? If you chose the child, you obviously are nuts, if you didn't choose the child you obviously are nuts.

      Well, ok, maybe this one isn't in the same way, but it's broad enough to make a large chunk of the population "sick" even if they don't have a computer at a

  • by Dripdry (1062282) on Monday November 10, 2008 @04:47PM (#25711765) Journal

    I read that as "China Defends Internet Addiction".
    I hear they also have a problem with youth in asia, but I've been assured that the government has the problem well in hand.

  • About 10 percent of China's 253 million Internet users exhibit some form of addiction to the medium, and 70 percent of those people are young men, an official Xinhua News Agency report said.

    News Anchor: And in today's news, an unnamed Chinese dissident has been treated in Beijing for <sinister sounding voice>internet addiction</sinister sounding voice>. After monitoring his internet usage and anti-government e-mails through his ISP, the government was able to find the man and get him the help he needs at a special government run institution at a remote location for his own good. Let's hope he has a swift recovery ...

  • by Coraon (1080675) on Monday November 10, 2008 @04:48PM (#25711805)
    I totally hope they have this in North America, I could totally go on workman's comp as my job requires me to be online all the time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tomhudson (43916)

      six or more hours a day online and exhibit at least one of the following symptoms: difficulty sleeping or concentrating, yearning to be online, irritation, and mental or physical distress.

      I guess they'd be irritated and in physical distress after 6 or more hours on the internet, unless they were surfing with their laptop in the washroom ...

      As for "work-related injury" - no problem. You get fired, lose your internet access, problem solved.

  • Ok, so I know we're all biased here, but let me be the first to say that, "I'm addicted to the internet".

    I think they're on to something however I don't think people should be forced into camps over it. I'm not hurting anyone with my addiction including myself.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      difficulty sleeping or concentrating, yearning to be online, irritation, and mental or physical distress.

      Get a real addiction--I sucked dick for bandwidth!

  • by polyomninym (648843) on Monday November 10, 2008 @04:53PM (#25711883)
    I think someone made this point a long time ago in a comment: If you were as oppressed in your daily life as the Chinese, you might spend a lot of your time where you can be "free" in some form of context, social, MMO, whatever. It's not always about escape, there is also immersion and just plain wanting interaction. We all know that anything can become physically addictive, and whether or not some term is coined for those things or not, it's simply human nature at work.
    • by Sinbios (852437) on Monday November 10, 2008 @05:50PM (#25712755) Homepage
      Bullshit. Speaking as an ex-average Chinese, the average Chinese doesn't feel oppressed at all. Government control of everything is and always has been the norm, even before the communists. In fact, nationalism is so ingrained in the culture that the people often feel the government is justified in doing most of the things Western audiences get their panties in a knot over.
      • by rtechie (244489) *

        Government control of everything is and always has been the norm, even before the communists.

        You weren't around before the Communists. All of those people are dead now.

        Before the Communists, China was very loosely managed by the Ching Dynasty. Tibet, Manchuria, and numerous other territories were essentially independent. This is not to say that China has had a tradition of liberty and free expression. Far from it.

        But that's no reason to defend the PRC as being somehow "normal". Most of the Chinese I know are from Hong Kong and Taiwan and they definitely feel oppressed by the PRC.

        • by Sinbios (852437)
          Before the Communists was the Guomindang, which was pretty much composed of a bunch of warring warlords. Life wasn't exactly easy. Before the Guomindang were, as you say, the Qing (who were Manchurian, by the way), and they were weak and corrupt to the core, the very reason it was overthrown. Ans so it went all the way back to the Seven Kingdoms; with a few exceptions, almost every dynasty in China's history met its demise due to the oppression of the people, leading to the rising thereof (if you are intere
          • by Sinbios (852437)
            Oops, looks like Slashdot doesn't like Chinese character entry. For those interested, the book's title is "Shang Xia Wu Qian Nian".

            I also want to add a tidbit to address your last point. Who's to say that the PRC is not "normal"? Normal by whose standards? As far as the average citizen is concerned, their life is perfectly normal, and not many of them give a damn about what Westerners think is normal.

            As for your friends from Hong Kong and Taiwan, how exactly were they oppressed by the PRC government? Ta
        • Wow, looks who's teaching Chinese history to the Chinese...

          Just as the other poster said, before the communists, there's Guomindang - they lost the civil war and had to move to Taiwan. And Guomingdang lost the civil war not because they're "too good" - it's because they're corrupt. Of course, we all know by now that the other alternative is just as bad (worse if you compare it to modern-day Taiwan), but the idea of communism was really attractive to the peasants back then.

          Before the civil war and WWII a
      • Bullshit. Speaking as an ex-average Chinese, the average Chinese doesn't feel oppressed at all. Government control of everything is and always has been the norm, even before the communists. In fact, nationalism is so ingrained in the culture that the people often feel the government is justified in doing most of the things Western audiences get their panties in a knot over.

        Sounds like the mentality of the average chinese in Beijing. Meanwhile, citizens in Shanghai feel quite the opposite. More to the point,

  • by D4C5CE (578304) on Monday November 10, 2008 @04:55PM (#25711923)

    difficulty sleeping or concentrating, yearning to be online, irritation, and mental or physical distress

    Each of which is all too easily inflicted at the hands of a PHB [wikipedia.org] (cluelessly imposing impossible deadlines), without one single minute of WoW involved...

  • Step 2 (Score:4, Funny)

    by Mordac (1009) on Monday November 10, 2008 @04:57PM (#25711963)

    Step 1 is admit your addiction... yup, i'm addicted.

    Well if step 2 is submit to a higher authority.

    Well, I have submitted to the power of Google.

    Now leave me alone, I got me some good internet.

    • I'll run your comment off right off the rail

      1. We admitted we were powerless over the Internet (even the filtered one in China) - that our lives had become unmanageable (Communism is good).

      2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves (already defined as Google) could restore us to sanity.

      3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God (Eric Schmidt) as we understood Him.

      4. Made a searching and fearless moral database inventory of ourselves.

      5. Admitted to God...er Eric, ak

  • Addiction (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mfh (56) on Monday November 10, 2008 @04:59PM (#25711989) Homepage Journal

    Seriously conflicted here. Addiction should never encompass anything that the bulk of society uses every day. I would imagine that the fundamental definition for any addiction should include a majority of negative repercussion, or at least that the addiction would cause the person's ultimate doom.

    Look at alcoholism. Approximately 2% of alcoholics get Korsakoff's Syndrome [wikipedia.org], which ultimately destroys the person's sense of reality while Thiamine B6 is absent from the 3rd & 4th ventricle of the brain long enough for damage to erode/reconfigure brain cells. There is no parallel result in internet addiction, apart from mood swings and perhaps suicide attempts, but these are all mostly related to social mishaps online. Internet abuse does not cause anything like Korsakoff's.

    Drug addiction, seems to all fit.

    Alas, where a parallel could exist would be with sex addiction, although one could argue that the STD's cause your doom.

    About the only thing Internet Addiction could cause is An Hero Syndrome [encycloped...matica.com] (NSFW).

    Medically, there could be serious degenerative disorders as a result of being fixated in one place for long periods of time, or perhaps dietary issues from eating and drinking the worst possible food in order to have more time online, but again that's all a bit of a stretch.

    If I had to guess, I would say that the term Internet Addiction is a misnomer. This is more aptly that people who struggle to get back online crave attention because their own lives are sparse or deficient in areas of socialization, so they feel powerful online and therefore need it.

    I think there is a long way to go on this subject and China's efforts, while interesting, are not quite there yet.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by mfh (56)

      Thiamine is B1, I fudged that one up. FYI.

    • Medically, there could be serious degenerative disorders as a result of being fixated in one place for long periods of time, or perhaps dietary issues from eating and drinking the worst possible food in order to have more time online, but again that's all a bit of a stretch.
      It never seemed to bother my college roommate. He only really got up from DAOC for work. Since he worked at a pizza joint he could always bring back the worst possible food. He even slept on a pile of clothes in front of his compute
    • by Bazouel (105242)

      "[...] absent from the 3rd & 4th ventricle of the brain [...]"

      Confusing brain with heart, are you ?

  • Not addicted (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Daimanta (1140543) on Monday November 10, 2008 @05:08PM (#25712127) Journal

    The Internet is simply ingrained into my life. Imagine a world without coffee. I wouldn't care much because I don't have a taste for it but I bet that millions will cry out in terror and will suddenly be silenced(faiting by lack of cafeine in their bloodstream :) ). Now imagine a world without the internet. I can't. I could. Around 10 years ago we got 33k dailup to get access to "this curious thing called the internet". We used it more and more untill one day we got a bill of 120+ eur and we knew it was time to switch to cable. Every since that moment I and the internet have been connected. If I want to look up an address or zipcode I go the right site and tada, zipcode and address. If I want to look up a term I go to Wikipedia, type the word in and tada, I've got the meaning and some deeper information about the subject. I check my mail every day to see if I have recieved any messages from people and institutions all over the world. If I want to know about technological development I visit tweakers.net or slashdot. I discuss on internetforums in many different countries and have developed my skills in some foreign languages that way.

    I am not the only one. The whole world is addicted to the internet. Sending data is now something you do with a few clicks and a few lines of text. You can send huge amounts of data from Vladivostok to Bogota in a matter of seconds. People all around the world can check videomessages people leave on youtube.

    Now imagine that somebody "turns off the central switch". I can only fear what would happen. Stock markets would probably go bananas because they are not being fed regular data. The most important letter exchange format in the world(e-mail) would cease to be and sending messages to eachother would become a matter of days not seconds. Distributed projects would die and it would cease to be effective. And that's only the things I can think of. Imagine the extra effects.

    We are all addicted to the internet whether we use it or not. That's the paradox.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Knara (9377)

      I personally have no idea how office workers lived with themselves before the Internet existed. Sitting 8 hours in a cube pushing paper around was a way of life for millions of people for around a century. I would have to do a job that involved "outside" stimulus were it not for the Interbutts (not to mention having a totally different job).

    • Knowledge is power. Knowledge shared is power lost.

      "Knowledge is power. Knowledge shared is power multiplied."

      Alternative interpretation for you there.

  • Where there is an addiction, there needs to be treatment. Mandatory [jaapl.org], if need be — for the betterment of the society, of course.

  • Redefining healthy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by R2.0 (532027)

    Yesterday they announced that taking cholesterol drugs when healthy is a good thing. I told my wife that no one is healthy anymore; we are all simply waiting for a chronic disease to strike.

    Today 10% of China's population is declared "sick". So now we don't have to wait for a disease to strike us - we already are diseased, but the doctors haven't told us what we have yet.

  • Crackberry (Score:5, Funny)

    by oGMo (379) on Monday November 10, 2008 @05:20PM (#25712337)

    So if my blackberry is constantly connected to the internet and it's on 24/7, I guess that means

    ...

    ...

    I'm ... what were we talking about? I was checking my mail.

  • by Hatta (162192)

    Take the guitar away from my brother, and he'll show every one of those symptoms. Does that mean he's addicted to guitar? Or does it mean that internet addiction is bullshit?

    • by smart.id (264791)

      Not to mention that the country of China had absolutely nothing to do with this -- it was a bunch of doctors at one clinic. Hasn't anyone heard of science by consensus?

  • Korea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Haoie (1277294) on Monday November 10, 2008 @05:30PM (#25712501) Homepage

    The problem is just as bad, if not far worse there. The prolific MMO play-rate [plus localised social networking] doesn't help either.

    But somehow, I don't see Korea classifying it as an illness anytime soon.

  • Bad term? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alarindris (1253418) on Monday November 10, 2008 @05:40PM (#25712629)
    IMHO, an addiction should have some physical counterpart. If it's strictly mental, it's just a bad habit.

    For example, an alcoholic will get the DT's if they don't drink. A heroin addict will convulse and sweat if they don't get their fix. A cigarette smoker will get headaches, tremors, and an increased appetite without their smokes. I should also mention that alcoholics and some other drug users, when quitting cold turkey, can actually die from withdrawal.

    Take away and addicts internet and what, they read the paper or watch TV instead? That's not an addiction, sorry. Take the internet away from an 'internet addict' for a week and they will have found other things to do. A drug addict will still be thinking about his drugs... for months and even years.

    I should mention I smoke cigarettes, I'm a recovering alcoholic and have had various drug addictions when I was younger and stupider. I use the internet all the time and even play WoW, but it's hardly an addiction and don't see any possible way it could be classified as such unless there are marked differences in brain chemistry or something like that.
    • by blair1q (305137)

      Brain chemicals are brain chemicals. How you create the need for them to be activated is not relevant.

      Yours is chemical. Someone else's is through constant ego-reward.

      As for withdrawal, removal from a constant source of attention and validation will lead to a condition known as "grieving," which has distinct symptoms and can be physically painful as well as psychologically traumatic.

      Some people may be genetically susceptible to these situations.

      Never underestimate your brain's capability to do things to y

      • Never underestimate your brain's capability to do things to you that you do not intend and can not control.

        God grant my brain the serenity to accept the things it cannot change; courage to change the things it can; and wisdom to know the difference.

        hehe

        On a more serious note, I can see the argument for internet addiction, perhaps I'm conflating my real life experiences a bit. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that trolling forums or browsing the internet could destroy your life and the people who are close to you.

      • Yes, this. Exactly. When my hard drive failed and I was off-line for 2 weeks I went through a grieving process. I don't game, but I do interact with friends online every night. And suddenly I no longer had that. I couldn't even type down things to share later. I don't want to go through that again.
    • by Bazouel (105242)

      Gambling is a recognized addiction and yet, it does not have physical repercussions AFAIK. A person with an addiction will just move the next when the current one is cured, unless the root cause is found and dealt with. This may or may not apply to you...

  • Haha! (Score:3, Funny)

    by blair1q (305137) on Monday November 10, 2008 @06:04PM (#25712931) Journal

    6 hours a day?

    L4|\/|3rz.

    Thanks to virtualization, I spent 6 hours on the Internet in just the past 40 minutes!

  • As far as I'm concerned, if you don't spend your time coding or connected to a MMORPG, and living on pizza and coke you're not net addicted!!!

    On a more serious note I find it interesting that they don't distinguish between work and play. An addict is online because he or she wants to be, and will not take the opportunity to do other things. A worker may jump at the chance to get away from the computer (provided that doesn't mean they have a hell of a job trying to catch up when they get back).

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday November 10, 2008 @06:32PM (#25713277) Homepage Journal

    Those are symptoms of people who aren't high-functioning addicts.

    Any addiction is defined by one simple criterion: can the person exercise self control over the behavior?

    The question can become existential: what if they don't want to quit? If they're high-functioning, they might never have call to exercise self control. In which case what's the difference whether they're addicts or not? The only question then is whether something might change requiring their quitting, and they might not be able to, which could be a problem.

    Besides, everyone is "addicted" to food. Few complain about the addiction, except people who can't afford to eat, who have some other compulsion/obsession that conflicts with eating, or who have a compounded problem of eating too much. But we all live with our basic addiction to food, which isn't really a problem, and is even celebrated. Why should any other addiction matter, if there are no bad symptoms?

  • ...the shopping before the thought police turn up and haul me off to boot camp in the forest, because I have a 24/7 on Cable connection to the Internet.

  • how about that ? the clinic any whomever did that research in china should shove their results up their asses in my opinion.

    what they define are stuff normally found in any average home in the modern world in people that are watching daily tv broadcasting after a long day's work. so our modern life is also an ailment too ?

    give me a break.
  • to escape the realities of life. people who see that there is little hope in future, or too much effort, too little gain, try to escape the reality.

    its natural. its an instinctive reaction. computers, games, internet is the best addiction in that regard, because they are not directly lethal to the biology, or psychology. just, excessive tiredom, or distancing from the physical social life existing around the person.

    chinese society should ask itself, what is wrong with their modern way of life, and try
  • I suppose I can now declare and define a new and dangerous addiction - Air addiction.

    My research has shown that people deprived of air for as little as 30 seconds will present "difficulty sleeping or concentrating, yearning to breathe, irritation, and mental or physical distress." Do YOU meet these criteria?

    Yawn. The problem isn't the internet, caffeine, nicotine, heroin, crack, meth, etc. The problem is the underlying psychology of the individual. People who b

  • I'm sure lots of people in China do surf a lot. Hardly suprising when its probably the only way they can get access to actual news rather than heavily biassed and censored proaganda.

    If I was cynical I'd say this is simply just a made-up study for the chinese government to justify further censorship or even a total ban on internet access to all people of china except presumably, government officials.

  • 12+ hours a day here. I've been online for more then 6 hours just doing homework today, so screw their definition of addiction.

    If the world gives me a good reason to use a different medium for my entertainment or education I'll listen, however the internet is both my work and my play. And I'm quite happy that way.
  • ... the same doctors who diagnose people with things like "clabbered bile", and "an imbalance in the Chi", and other mysterious disorders, which equally mysteriously can all be cured by poking people with needles.

    Man, what a scam. I could probably make more money than either a Chiropractor or a Naturopath!
  • I'm sure that the "cure" for this "addictive ailment" will involve some sort of "re-education", too. Fucking bastards.
  • All sys-admins must be addicted. I mean I'm online 6+ hours a day and under "mental distress".

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