Check out this wired.com article on boot camps in china designed to fix an Internet addiction.
A short quote from the article:
The Qihang Salvation Training Camp opened in May 2009, just in time for the summer holiday. Children who attended the camp portray it as a horrific experience. Although Qihang pitched itself as therapy, its treatment regimen revolved around intense martial drills, which began at sunrise with a harsh whistle and sometimes didn’t end until after midnight. Campers who couldn’t complete the required laps or push-ups were beaten. Screams could be heard constantly. A 12-year-old boy, whose parents enrolled him for playing his Game Boy too much, says that he spent most of his time concentrating on mere survival: “If anyone says they weren’t scared, they’re lying.”
Deng Senshan’s fellow campers helped to re-create his first, and only, day at Qihang. Like all newcomers, the boy began his stay with a visit to a “confinement room” on the facility’s top floor and was told to face the wall. When he refused, counselors struck him. “I heard him screaming,” says a 13-year-old girl whose mother sent her after she started skipping school to chat online. “But I didn’t really pay attention, because it was normal to hear screams.”
When the other campers were sent to bed, around 9 pm, Deng Senshan and three other new arrivals were instructed to run laps around the basketball courts under klieg lights. By now, Deng Senshan didn’t resist much; he ran about 30 laps before he stumbled and fell. A counselor dragged him to a nearby flagpole and hit him with a wooden chair leg, which broke. Deng Senshan begged for him to stop, pushed himself up, and continued running. He made it halfway around the court before collapsing again. “Do you want to run?” the counselor yelled, strutting over with a plastic stool, which he swung down on the boy.
Deng Senshan crumpled to the concrete and stopped moving. There were at least a half-dozen witnesses. A security guard, who watched with shock from the tiny room where he lived at the edge of the school grounds, knew the child was in trouble: “I told my wife, ‘This boy will be lucky if he lives through the night.’”
After the beating, Deng Senshan was carried trembling to his bunk, shouting, “They’re killing me,” and bleeding from his mouth, ears, eyes, and nose. The counselors left him there for hours before dispatching a car to take him to the hospital. At around 3 am, 14 hours after arriving at the camp, he was pronounced dead.
It’s a September morning — the day that Deng Senshan would have started high school. His parents walk through crowded streets to their bright third-floor apartment. A month has passed since their son died. As they tell their story, Zhou Juan cries into her hands and Deng Fei fiddles with his keys.
Recently, Deng Fei came to a conclusion: His son was never addicted. “He didn’t smoke, he didn’t drink. The Internet was probably his way to vent the pressure on him,” he says, staring at his feet. “We didn’t know that then. But we know that now. It wasn’t really an addiction. It was his way out of the pressure of being a student.” Zhou Juan raises her head. “He didn’t even play that much,” she says.
More than a dozen people were jailed for Deng Senshan’s death, and it would later be reported that the camp founder — who had branded himself as an educational and psychological expert — had never even been to high school, let alone college. Deng Fei would also learn that the camp’s TV ad was a fraud — those smiling family members were actually paid actors.
Deng Senshan’s death was the first of a small wave of terrifying reports. A few days after his murder, counselors at a camp in Hubei province beat to death a 14-year-old boy. Six days later, a teenager ended up in intensive care after sustaining injuries at another camp. The reports sparked cries for a government crackdown. “No one regulates the industry,” says Tao Ran, who has become one of the foremost proponents for increased oversight. In late 2008, Tao, hoping to eliminate uncertainty and confusion, began publicizing what he believed were the defining characteristics of a true Internet addict: playing online for at least six hours a day for three months straight and experiencing a profound sense of emotional, even physical, loss when unplugged from the Net. He also began lobbying the Chinese government to officially recognize the condition as a mental illness. But he is up against a juggernaut. There are thought to be between 300 and 400 camps in China.