In China, there are military-style boot camps for internet addiction rehabilitation. More than 6,000 people, mostly teenagers, have been admitted to the Addiction Treatment Centre in Eastern China. In 2017, China realised that it had a lot of the same internet issues as many other places in the world, so they took proactive steps.
The symptoms that could warrant checking people into internet addictions camps are interesting. Some of them are being online for more than six hours a day and becoming angry or frustrated when they cannot get online.
They conduct treatments in China by removing the patient’s internet access. It also uses extreme methods like electroshock therapy.
Reports from China show the adverse effects of this therapy. An 18-year-old boy died only 48 hours after entering the facility. Another former patient murdered her mum to get revenge for staying at rehab.
However, China started talks to draft a law to regulate the camps and their modes of punishment.
Some of the treatment centres in China’s capital Beijing do Electroencephalogram (EEG) tests to record the electrical activity in the Patient’s brains. There are now addiction camps all over China. Some are private, and others run out of government hospitals.
Chinese internet giant Tencent began imposing restrictions on gaming hours for young users of its most popular games. Other tech companies also followed suit to limit excessive online gaming hours by minors.
There are also very strict internet laws in China. A generation of young people in China has never heard of Google, Twitter or even Facebook. This is the Chinese story.
With all the brouhaha about privacy and security on the internet, Western countries like the UK and US are doing all they can to call out these tech companies. Facebook has had to face sanctions in the US. Google has had to pay fines in the UK.
What about here in Africa?
There were times when WhatsApp was banned in Uganda. There have also been calls for self-censorship of social media in Nigeria. Most of these have been politically motivated and had nothing to do with safeguarding the innocence of our young ones.
With Africa being the dumping ground for a lot of technology advancements, how do we protect our young ones??? P*********y is easily accessible to most teenagers. There is very little done as regards regulations and policies.
Who should be responsible?
Parents and teachers have more on their hands in restricting internet access for young people. Because we are a religious society, the church plays a huge role. Parents depend on preachers and pastors to help them with this aspect. Somehow, the idea of the doom of hell will protect children from the pollution that inflicted by the internet.
Lawmakers in Africa have so far concentrated on criminalising a lot of things, including gay marriages. However, the internet seems to be doing more harm, and we seem oblivious to it. Or are our own children not facing internet addiction too? Or are we immune to the adverse effects of the addiction?