Chinese Government Says Electroshock Therapy for Internet Addicts not to be Proven Safe

Chinese authorities have put to a stop one clinic’s extreme effort to wean youngsters away from the Internet — a practice that highlights the skepticism surrounding China’s approach to Internet addiction, as well as the existence of the condition itself.

The Ministry of Health ordered that the clinic in Shandong province stop using electroshock as a form of punishment, according to Chinese media. Electroshock therapy was administered as a punishment for violating any number of the center’s rules. But the government said the treatment hasn’t been proven safe, while outsiders questioned whether the practice was effective in getting young people away from their compulsion to spend significant time online, Wall Street Journal reports.

Meanwhile, Tao Ran, from the Beijing Military General Hospital, runs a camp which gives addicts a mixture of counselling, military discipline and hypnosis.

However, a psychiatric hospital in Linyi, Shandong, charged parents £500 a month to apply "xingnao", or "brain-waking", electric shocks to their children.

Some children suffered painful burns, but no parents had complained, according to the Chinese press.

Nevertheless, the health ministry has asked all hospitals to stop "electrical stimulation" for internet addiction while the treatment is investigated, reports.

Shock therapy was being used by a hospital in the country's Shandong Province as a way to treat Internet addiction, but the Ministry of Health ordered the facility to stop the practice.

The therapy had been used on about 3,000 young Chinese people, according to the China Youth Daily.

Internet addicts were described in Chinese media reports as those who were online more than six hours a day, played games and looked at pornography sites instead of working or studying, and got angry when they could not go online, AHN reports.