April 8, 2015
So on our flight to Canada I recently watched an interesting documentary called Web Junkie which focused on internet addiction in China. I didn’t know this, but apparently China was the very first country to label internet addiction as a clinical disorder. Compulsive Internet Use is considered to be a mental health issue in many countries, but China was the first country to open up a rehab center for dealing with the addiction. The documentary deals with teenagers who have quit school to play online games, who have racked up bills over $8,000 in online gaming, or have even started wearing diapers to avoid going to the washroom. Most of the teenagers in the documentary were tricked into going to the rehab clinic, and some were even roofied by their parents and dragged to the clinic. I recommend checking it out if you’re interested in learning more about it or in seeing how the clinic deals with the parents involvement with their child’s issues.
Korea supposedly has a clinic for recovering internet addicts, but we haven’t seen any documentary on it, and we don’t know how it compares to what China offers, but the facility has been around since 2007, from what we’ve read, well before the Cinderella Law was put into place. What we find very interesting is how different countries label the concept of addiction. China defines an addict as “someone who uses the internet more than six hours for things that are not work or study related” but in Western counties addiction seems to be labeled as such based on behaviour and consequences of that behaviour, rather than a quantity of behaviour, you know? For example, people who choose to use the internet in such a way that it results in the loss of significant relationships, jobs, or careers would be considered addicted to the internet. Then again I’m sure there’s more subtlety to how addiction is defined in China and I’m probably just getting it wrong.
I will say one thing, though: how, err, constitutional is it for Korea to have this Cinderella Law? If this law passed in, say, the US, I can clearly imagine someone on Fox News accusing Obama of overstepping his authority and being unconstitutional. Is it within a government’s rights to tell you at what times you can play video games within your own home?
Another thing: what are the alternatives, then, that are being offered for internet addiction in teenagers? I could be wrong, but I’m thinking that overwork in school plus not a lot of alternatives would result in teenagers playing more online gaming than, say, teenagers in other countries that have other outlets. Sports aren’t big here. Part time jobs amongst teenagers are practically non-existent. What else is there to do apart from video gaming? I don’t know. Really, I don’t know, but I feel like making laws to try to curb online game playing aren’t really addressing the main issue.
Anyhow, it’s a complicated issue, and we’d love to hear what you think about it, and how your country views and/or handles the problem, or if we’re totally off on what we think about the matter. I’m just glad that my 3DS isn’t blocked for online play, because I play a lot of Smash online, though I probably shouldn’t, because I keep on getting paired up with Japanese players, and also I keep on getting destroyed. So maybe I should be banned from gaming online so I can retain some dignity…