China has announced plans to define Internet addiction in young people and to devise methods for preventing it, China Daily is reporting.
The initiative comes following one extreme case in which a 14-year-old boy admitted poisoning his family after his mother banned computer games.
"Internet addiction has become a serious problem in China," said Li Jianwei from the Ministry of Culture. "Although some rules restricting students from playing online games have been introduced, the problem has not been solved completely."
The Culture Ministry is one of 15 groups that will jointly take three years to implement a program.
"Meanwhile, regulations on Internet cafes and online game companies will become stricter, and a stronger supervision system will be implemented," the article noted.
"The unhealthy content online, such as violence and obscenity, has damaged young people physically and mentally," said Wang Ping, managing director of the Chinese Society for Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Research, a non-governmental organization. "But what symptoms define Internet addiction? How to diagnose young addicts, and at what level of addiction, is still vague."
In the poisoning case in Ziyang, Sichuan province, the teenager is believed to have poured farm chemicals into family food on Feb. 2. His parents, older brother (so much for single child families) and sister-in-law have been discharged from the hospital after suffering stomach ailments.
Photo from Chrispirillo.com
A dose of related SmartPlanet stories: