China is launching an experimental summer camp for 40 youngsters to try to wean them off their internet addiction, state media said.
The 10-day programme would accept youngsters aged between 14 and 22 once they had undergone a psychological test and evaluation, the China Daily said.
About 2.6 million – or 13% – of China’s 20 million internet users under 18 are classed as addicts, state media have reported.
The youngsters at the summer camp would be treated for depression, fear, unwillingness to interact with others, panic and agitation.
It would appear to be offering a softer option than the Internet Addiction Treatment Centre near Beijing which uses a blend of therapy and military drills to treat children addicted to online games, internet pornography and cybersex.
Concerned by a number of high-profile Internet-related deaths and juvenile crime, the government is now taking steps to stem internet addictions by banning new Internet cafes and mulling restrictions on violent computer games.
According to government figures, there are currently 113,000 internet cafes and bars in China.
The newspaper cited the case of one student accepted to East China University of Science and Technology with high marks.
“He could not adjust to Shanghai campus life without burying himself in computer games,” the China Daily said. “He would play day and night, skipping classes and avoiding friends, until he was pulled out of the internet cafe by a supervisor.”
In a joint effort with the camp, Shanghai’s education commission has organised a volunteer group to patrol the city streets and stop minors entering internet cafes.