Teen Boy Dies At “Internet Addiction Camp”

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The internet has certainly changed our world, and I would argue, mostly for the better. The amount of information available to us at a moment’s notice is certainly life changing. Remember folding maps? The jingle “phone first, before you go, phone first?” And that phone call, from a payphone, using coins? Remember Moviefone? How about encyclopedias?  The list goes on and on.  Need to know the population of Japan? Siri just told me it’s 126,740,000.

However, for many, the internet has too much to offer. It isn’t surprising with all the entertainment, social media, news and gaming that many people would prefer to sit behind a screen rather than deal with daily life.

This generation is known as the iGeneration, and they have never known life without the internet. From a young age we see kids put behind an ipad to keep them busy. Preschoolers can ask Siri questions, and elementary school students can help you figure out your new phone.  You don’t even want to know what high schoolers are doing.

It’s no wonder that kids these days (and some adults too) can develop addictions to the internet, much like gambling. The immediate gratification of playing games online and seeing how many “likes” you can get on Facebook or Instagram is all this generation knows.  And it is a problem.

For one family, they opted for a drastic approach, an internet addiction camp.  Unfortunately, the results were deadly.

H/T Daily Mail

An 18-year-old boy in China has died just 48 hours into attending an illegal digital detox boot camp aiming to stamp out his internet addiction.

His parents spent 22,800 yuan (£2,634) on the camp in Anhui province which claimed it used psychological counseling to help people with their addiction to the internet.

The family were called on August 5 by the centre telling them that their son had died, reports the People’s Daily Online.

Li Ao was said to have an addiction to the internet and did not have any interests in anything else but the internet. He had become uninterested in learning, according to footage.

According to the man’s mother, Ms Liu, she was told by the camp that they were committed to helping her son quit his addiction to the internet.

She said: ‘The centre was called Hefei education and the site had some so-called success stories. I saw that my child’s situation is almost exactly the same as these stories.’

Li Ao’s mother was told that they used physical training and psychological counselling and do not resort to extreme means such as electric shock treatment.

Because of this, she signed an agreement with the school to send her son there for 180 days, forking out 22,800 yuan (£2,634) for her son’s stay.

On August 3, her son Li Ao was sent to the centre.

Just two days later, she received a call from the centre, telling her that Li Ao had died and had been taken to a mortuary.

Both parents went to the funeral home and were shocked to see so many injuries on their son.

She told reporters: ‘My son is full of scars from head to toe.’

‘On the afternoon of August 6, a forensic team inspected my son’s body and found that along with the external injuries, there are also some internal injuries.’

The website of the centre claims that it is a ‘quit addiction school’ and can help ‘save lost children’.

Teachers and students eat and live together and the children are not allowed out of the teacher’s line of sight.

The site also promises not to scold or preach to the children.

It was revealed on August 9, that the school was illegal. It has since been closed down by the local government.

The head of the school and four coaches have been detained while the case is investigated further.

Internet boot camps are controversial in China. There are plans to ban them due to past cases of teenagers being brutally abused and tortured during their time there.

Last year, a teenager murdered her mother after she was sent to an internet boot camp. According to Chinese media, the girl had been abused during her stay.”

For some, a sort of “digital detox” may be in order. However, if you are a parent and feel your child needs to be sent away to a camp for this, I would argue that you didn’t do your job. How children are allowed to get to the point where their parents can’t control their internet usage needs to be examined.

I see many parents use the internet as a nanny for their child. It’s no wonder that the kid ends up overweight and depressed with little desire to do anything, but sit there like a zombie staring at the screen, day after day. Why can’t parents say “no” to their children anymore and make them go outside and play or find another activity that doesn’t involve electronics?

Maybe I am old-school, but the fact that the world even has camps like these is very disturbing to me. I can’t blame the kids though, I blame the parents. Stop the addiction before it starts and avoid the need to send your kids to a camp to have the addiction beat out of them!


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