Manchester students express thoughts on boot camps for internet and gaming addiction

  • China declares internet addiction to be a clinical disorder
  • China creates military style camps to help those who are addicted 
  • Manchester Gaming society give their opinion on the internet/gaming addiction 

China controls a vast amount of the content its people can access. This is done by legislative actions and technologies enforced by the People’s Republic of China to regulate the Internet domestically. It has been labelled as the Great Firewall. 

However, they still face a common problem that can be found with a lot of people in the western world – internet addiction. In 2008 China declared internet addiction to be a clinical disorder. In response to this China have created boot camps for people who are addicted to what is known as ‘electronic heroin’.

It was argued by the Treasurer of the University Gaming society that due to the firm hand the government has on China, it enforces the younger generation to find a form of escapism online and in video games.

Arndale Game Shop
Arndale’s Game shop during the weekend

Most people sent to these camps are gamers that spend hours and possibly days with their attention only on the virtual world. This has led to parents, who have watched their children become more and more addicted, spending up to $9000 to send them to military style camps.

The addicts undergo therapy treatment designed by Tao Ran, a psychiatrist and colonel in the People’s Liberation Army. He claims that there is a success rate of 75%. However, local students said their practices are excessively harsh. In August 2017, it was reported by the BBC an 18-year-old boy had sustained multiple injuries and was rushed to hospital, where he later died.

Students from the University of Manchester Gaming society provided comments on the amount they spend on video games, what impact it has and whether there are better ways to deal with gaming and internet addiction.

University of Manchester SU

Nik, the treasurer of the Gaming society said that he plays video games everyday with an average of two hours each session but can go for six hours easily. He stated that a big motivator for online gaming is that his friends would also be online. In response to hearing about China’s boot camps Nik said: “Its not the best way to deal with it as just being in a camp like that isn’t comfortable. A main reason they have addicts like that is because they have nothing else to do with their time and they should focus on improving their lives with better ambitions.”

Ella Harding, social secretary of the society said she plays video games almost everyday for about three hours. She added: “I agree it’s an addiction but I think just talking to someone would help and you shouldn’t be so harsh on those with addictions. You have people to deal with addictions so it does depend on how severe the addiction is. You can have a healthy amount of gaming – a lot of people make friends online.” 

Matt Knowles, a general member of the society said he plays video games around six hours a week due to the fact that he a lot of his time is spent studying. He said: “It can be hard sometimes when you see your other friends online. It can make you feel left out. Online encourages more of your friends to play.” When asked about the camps Matt said: “I don’t think it’s the right way to go about it. You can’t just forget the internet, it’s everywhere as soon as they leave. The camp shouldn’t be so severe.”

The ADS (Addiction Dependency Solutions) have yet to comment on the matter.