In light of recent news about the hours required to reach the top of the Leaderboard, and Diablo 3’s recent entry into the Chinese market, this seems relevant. It’s a brief article about Chinese “boot camps” designed to cure Internet video game addiction in young men, and by the looks of the pics, it’s not exactly a voluntary stay.
See the full article for more details and pictures. Here’s an excerpt from Chinese Boot Camps Cure Video Game Addiction?
The camo and calisthenics in these photos may call to mind a military academy, but they actually document a rehab center for internet addicts. China has more online gamers—368 million—than the United States has people. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that Chinese parents, psychiatrists, and media often describe wangyin, or internet addiction, as a clinical disorder. Sometimes called “digital heroin,” it is said to afflict 24 million young people. This center in a Beijing suburb houses 70 such patients, mostly boys, and is led by Tao Ran, a “tough love” former army colonel.
While controversial treatments have been blamed for deaths at similar facilities, Tao claims his team’s methods—which can include brain scans and medication—have a 75 percent success rate. That’s welcome news for panicked mothers and fathers who, raised before China’s tech revolution, struggle to recognize the online lives of their children, and for a government that fears gaming is yet another way for the internet to corrupt young minds.
All through history, it’s been young people who show the intense focus and drive (AKA not getting bored doing the same thing over and over again) that’s required to really master a field. Whether that’s mathematics, or playing an instrument, or mastering chess, or learning programming languages, or focusing on video games. A lot of us spent leaderboard-topping hours on video games when we were in our teens and had the free time for that, but for most people it’s a phase, something they grow out of or away from as they get older and diversify their interests.
I think most of us would tell the person playing a video game 10+ hours a day that there are better/other/more valuable things they could be doing with that time, but do we think they need to be sent to some boot camp for retraining? Obviously some parents do think this, and if it’s your kid and he’s flunking out of school or refusing to get a job at a crucial stage in life, maybe enrolling them into something this extreme seems the best course.
Anyone with past or current video game addiction issues want to weigh in? In retrospect, would anyone have welcomed such an intervention at an earlier time in your life? Or do you just want to ship some GR64 some of a bitch off to military camp to free up space for you atop the leaderboard?