Drug addiction is a worldwide problem, and so is addiction to the Internet. In China, it's become so serious among young people that the government has set up rehab clinics for those obsessed with cyberspace. But treatments at the clinics are somewhat unorthodox, ranging from controversial shock therapy to hypnosis and boot camp.
This is boot camp for Internet junkies, where a growing number of Chinese kids are being rescued from cyberspace, dragged back into reality. This woman, who didn't want to be named, says her 15-year-old son would lock himself away for hours, they'd constantly argue and his school work suffered. He clearly wasn't interested in what she was saying. Internet addiction is defined as spending four hours a day or more online. In some cases, to break that, patients are shocked with low voltage jolts. "I just play online for as long as I could," says this 18-year-old. "Even if I was tired, I wanted to reach a new level. I couldn't stop."
Many are addicted to games where they become one of the characters, so this is part of their therapy - laser tag, a real game in the real world. Experts say all of these kids lack self-confidence and they couldn't cope with pressure from their parents to do well at school, which is why computer games, where success comes with such little effort, are so addictive. The clinic is run by Tao Ran. Each year he treats almost 1,000 kids. Some cases are extreme.
"One boy broke up with his girlfriend," he says, "and became addicted to the Internet. For three years, he never left his room. He didn't shower or cut his hair."
Earlier this year at a Guangzhou Internet cafe, police say a man aged about 30 died of exhaustion after playing online for three straight days. Shanghai police are now enforcing a 16-year age limit at all Internet cafes. Every minute in China 100 new users are logging on and many of them, like these kids, will have trouble logging off.
An Adelaide University study has recently found up to a third of Australian teenagers are addicted or in the process of becoming addicted to the Internet.