November 11, 2008

Chinese officials are concerned that youngsters are addicted to the internet.

China could become the first country to classify internet addiction as a
clinical disorder and plans to lead the world by registering the condition
with the World Health Organisation.

Beijing’s Health Ministry is expected to adopt a new manual on internet
addiction next year, based on the research of Chinese psychologists. It will
recognise the condition as similar to compulsive gambling or alcoholism.

“China finds itself at the forefront of this research because we were among
the earliest to set up clinics . . . we had a sufficient sample of patients
so that we could carry out proper scientific analysis,” Tao Ran, who set up
China’s first internet addiction clinic at the Military General Hospital in
Beijing, told The Times.

He said that he had reached his conclusion by studying more than 3,000 people
over four years.

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