Giuseppe Sandro Mela.
«Est modus in rebus.
Sunt certi denique fines,
Quos ultra citraque nequit consistere rectum»
Orazio, Satire, I, 1,vv. 106-107.
Ogni Collettività umana è un insieme di persone le quali conferiscono a questa una parte non sostanziale della propria libertà in cambio di una profonda tutela della propria libertà stessa, espressa nelle sue forme più alte.
Quando questo requisito essenziale venisse meno, da una o dall’altra parte, questa Collettività verrebbe meno ai più elementari canoni di giustizia.
Infatti, fine proprio di ogni forma vivente è la garanzia della propria sopravvivenza: il desiderio e la volontà di vivere. In ultima analisi, il concetto di “legittima difesa” è intimamente connesso all’anelito alla sopravvivenza.
Se questo è facilmente intuibile e comprensibile per la persona umana, sembrerebbe esserlo alquanto meno per la Collettività, spesso vissuta come contenuto astratto.
Essendo formata da persone umane, una Collettività vive nel tempo, rinnovando i morti con i nuovi nati. Ogni squilibrio tra nascite e morti a favore di queste ultime condannerebbe la Collettività alla estinzione, erigendosi quindi a causa efficiente nel determinare meccanismi di legittima difesa.
Tuttavia, una nascita non seguita da un’adolescenza e da una vita matura idonea a quella della vita collettiva sarebbe forse danno maggiore della mancata nascita: dunque, anche per questa evenienza la Collettività deve agire per legittima difesa.
È inconcepibile che una Collettività possa tollerare una generazione giovane affetta da dipendenze voluttuarie, siano esse droghe siano esse internet. Se contro di esse fosse stata messa in atto tutta la campagna fatta contro il fumo di tabacco oggi non si parlerebbe più di questi problemi.
Oltre ad essere di utilità per la Collettività, il servizio militare è di grande utilità formativa per i giovani. Forma persone di carattere, capaci di resistere alle avversità.
Non sembri spropositato un incipit così generale per un problema nel complesso specifico: senza aver ben compreso il fine ultimo di un’azione, essa resta del tutto inintelligibile, incomprensibile.
La Collettività non può permettersi di avere persone affette da dipendenze patologiche acquisite in via voluttuaria. Una cosa è il dovere sociale di assistere chi abbia avuto la cattiva sorte di malattie oppure incidenti, un’altra del tutto differente è invece la situazione di quanti se la siano andati a cercare, vuoi per fatuità, vuoi per azzardo.
Nel novero delle dipendenze quelle voluttuarie sono la stragrande maggioranza: alcool e droga depravano la persona umana rendendola alla fine pericolosa a sé ed agli altri. Sicuramente un peso ed ostacolo alla normale vita collettiva.
L’intervento diventa obbligo etico e morale, ricordando anche quanto un medico pietoso faccia solo piaghe purulente.
«China was among the first to label “Internet addiction” a clinical disorder»
«The program featured in this video admits teenagers, usually male, whose parents typically take them there against their will»
«Once inside, the children are kept behind bars and guarded by soldiers»
«Patients undergo military-inspired physical training, and their sleep and diet are carefully regulated»
«Tao Ran, the center’s director, claims a 70 percent success rate.»
«If that’s true, perhaps China’s treatment model is something other nations should embrace, however disturbing it may seem to outsiders»
* * * * * *
«The day starts with a shrill whistle at 6.30am. The patients hurriedly line up in the hallway, dressed in camouflage T-shirts. A monitor bellows out each of their names, a routine that is repeated a further five times a day. They have 20 minutes to wash and arrive at the exercise ground for their first set of military training.»
In Occidente una fazione ideologica e politica ha propalato e fatta attecchire l’idea che la deterrenza sia inutile: non produca risultati significativi.
Ciò è contrario ad ogni evidenza pratica. I paesi che applicano la pena capitale ai trafficanti di droga hanno percentuali di tossicodipendenti negligibili. La deterrenza serve, eccome!
Similmente, la rieducazione non può essere fatta con metodi inidonei.
I ceffoni dati dai padri evitano molti tormenti della vita. La vita non è un video game.
(1). Nel valutare l’accluso video si tenga però conto di un fatto, spesso trascurato oppure non messo in evidenza.
Tutti questi soggetti hanno una sindrome da dipendenza e sono stati colti nella crisi di astinenza. Sono soggetti patologici, e patologiche sono le loro reazioni.
(2). Un serio servizio militare forma carattere e fisico.
→ The New York Times. 2016-04-27. China’s Web Junkies [Video]
Compulsive Internet use has been categorized as a mental health issue in many countries, including the United States, but China was among the first to label “Internet addiction” a clinical disorder.
In this Op-Doc video, we show the inner workings of a rehabilitation center where Chinese teenagers are “deprogrammed.” The Internet Addiction Treatment Center, in Daxing, a suburb of Beijing, was established in 2004. It was one of the first of its kind – and there are now hundreds of treatment programs throughout China and South Korea. (The first inpatient Internet addiction program in the United States recently opened in Pennsylvania.)
The program featured in this video admits teenagers, usually male, whose parents typically take them there against their will. Once inside, the children are kept behind bars and guarded by soldiers. Treatment, which often lasts three to four months, includes medication and therapy, and sometimes includes parents. Patients undergo military-inspired physical training, and their sleep and diet are carefully regulated. These techniques (some of which are also used in China to treat other behavioral disorders) are intended to help the patients reconnect with reality.
Yet after four months of filming in this center (for our documentary “Web Junkie”), some vital questions remained: Are the children being accurately evaluated? And is the treatment effective? In many cases, it seemed parents were blaming the Internet for complex social and behavioral issues that may defy such interventions. (For example, we noticed that some patients experienced difficult family relationships, social introversion and a lack of friends in the physical world.) Tao Ran, the center’s director, claims a 70 percent success rate. If that’s true, perhaps China’s treatment model is something other nations should embrace, however disturbing it may seem to outsiders. There is still no real global consensus among experts about what constitutes addiction to the Internet, and whether the concept even exists, particularly in a strict medical sense.
What is clear is that this issue is not confined to China. With millions (if not billions) glued to screens and electronic devices, the overuse of technology is becoming a universal, transnational concern. While treatment methods may vary, one way or another, we will need to find effective ways to moderate our use of technology and provide help to those who need it.
→ The New York Times. 2007-11-18. In Korea, a Boot Camp Cure for Web Obsession
MOKCHEON, South Korea — The compound — part boot camp, part rehab center — resembles programs around the world for troubled youths. Drill instructors drive young men through military-style obstacle courses, counselors lead group sessions, and there are even therapeutic workshops on pottery and drumming.
But these young people are not battling alcohol or drugs. Rather, they have severe cases of what many in this country believe is a new and potentially deadly addiction: cyberspace.
They come here, to the Jump Up Internet Rescue School, the first camp of its kind in South Korea and possibly the world, to be cured.
South Korea boasts of being the most wired nation on earth. In fact, perhaps no other country has so fully embraced the Internet. Ninety percent of homes connect to cheap, high-speed broadband, online gaming is a professional sport, and social life for the young revolves around the “PC bang,” dim Internet parlors that sit on practically every street corner.
But such ready access to the Web has come at a price as legions of obsessed users find that they cannot tear themselves away from their computer screens.
Compulsive Internet use has been identified as a mental health issue in other countries, including the United States. However, it may be a particularly acute problem in South Korea because of the country’s nearly universal Internet access.
It has become a national issue here in recent years, as users started dropping dead from exhaustion after playing online games for days on end. A growing number of students have skipped school to stay online, shockingly self-destructive behavior in this intensely competitive society.
Up to 30 percent of South Koreans under 18, or about 2.4 million people, are at risk of Internet addiction, said Ahn Dong-hyun, a child psychiatrist at Hanyang University in Seoul who just completed a three-year government-financed survey of the problem.
They spend at least two hours a day online, usually playing games or chatting. Of those, up to a quarter million probably show signs of actual addiction, like an inability to stop themselves from using computers, rising levels of tolerance that drive them to seek ever longer sessions online, and withdrawal symptoms like anger and craving when prevented from logging on.
To address the problem, the government has built a network of 140 Internet-addiction counseling centers, in addition to treatment programs at almost 100 hospitals and, most recently, the Internet Rescue camp, which started this summer. Researchers have developed a checklist for diagnosing the addiction and determining its severity, the K-Scale. (The K is for Korea.)
In September, South Korea held the first international symposium on Internet addiction.
“Korea has been most aggressive in embracing the Internet,” said Koh Young-sam, head of the government-run Internet Addiction Counseling Center. “Now we have to lead in dealing with its consequences.”
Though some health experts here and abroad question whether overuse of the Internet or computers in general is an addiction in the strict medical sense, many agree that obsessive computer use has become a growing problem in many countries.
Doctors in China and Taiwan have begun reporting similar disorders in their youth. In the United States, Dr. Jerald J. Block, a psychiatrist at Oregon Health and Science University, estimates that up to nine million Americans may be at risk for the disorder, which he calls pathological computer use. Only a handful of clinics in the United States specialize in treating it, he said.
“Korea is on the leading edge,” Dr. Block said. “They are ahead in defining and researching the problem, and recognize as a society that they have a major issue.”
The rescue camp, in a forested area about an hour south of Seoul, was created to treat the most severe cases. This year, the camp held its first two 12-day sessions, with 16 to 18 male participants each time. (South Korean researchers say an overwhelming majority of compulsive computer users are male.)
The camp is entirely paid for by the government, making it tuition-free. While it is too early to know whether the camp can wean youths from the Internet, it has been receiving four to five applications for each spot. To meet demand, camp administrators say they will double the number of sessions next year.
During a session, participants live at the camp, where they are denied computer use and allowed only one hour of cellphone calls a day, to prevent them from playing online games via the phone. They also follow a rigorous regimen of physical exercise and group activities, like horseback riding, aimed at building emotional connections to the real world and weakening those with the virtual one.
“It is most important to provide them experience of a lifestyle without the Internet,” said Lee Yun-hee, a counselor. “Young Koreans don’t know what this is like.”
Initially, the camp had problems with participants sneaking away to go online, even during a 10-minute break before lunch, Ms. Lee said. Now, the campers are under constant surveillance, including while asleep, and are kept busy with chores, like washing their clothes and cleaning their rooms.
One participant, Lee Chang-hoon, 15, began using the computer to pass the time while his parents were working and he was home alone. He said he quickly came to prefer the virtual world, where he seemed to enjoy more success and popularity than in the real one.
He spent 17 hours a day online, mostly looking at Japanese comics and playing a combat role-playing game called Sudden Attack. He played all night, and skipped school two or three times a week to catch up on sleep.
When his parents told him he had to go to school, he reacted violently. Desperate, his mother, Kim Soon-yeol, sent him to the camp.
“He didn’t seem to be able to control himself,” said Mrs. Kim, a hairdresser. “He used to be so passionate about his favorite subjects” at school. “Now, he gives up easily and gets even more absorbed in his games.”
Her son was reluctant at first to give up his pastime.
“I don’t have a problem,” Chang-hoon said in an interview three days after starting the camp. “Seventeen hours a day online is fine.” But later that day, he seemed to start changing his mind, if only slightly.
As a drill instructor barked orders, Chang-hoon and 17 other boys marched through a cold autumn rain to the obstacle course. Wet and shivering, Chang-hoon began climbing the first obstacle, a telephone pole with small metal rungs. At the top, he slowly stood up, legs quaking, arms outstretched for balance. Below, the other boys held a safety rope attached to a harness on his chest.
“Do you have anything to tell your mother?” the drill instructor shouted from below.
“No!” he yelled back.
“Tell your mother you love her!” ordered the instructor.
“I love you, my parents!” he replied.
“Then jump!” ordered the instructor. Chang-hoon squatted and leapt to a nearby trapeze, catching it in his hands.
“Fighting!” yelled the other boys, using the English word that in South Korea means the rough equivalent of “Don’t give up!”
After Chang-hoon descended, he said, “That was better than games!”
Was it thrilling enough to wean him from the Internet?
“I’m not thinking about games now, so maybe this will help,” he replied. “From now on, maybe I’ll just spend five hours a day online.”
→ The Telegraph. 2015-01-17. Inside the Chinese boot camp treating Internet addiction
There are 632 million internet users in China – and 24 million of its children are thought to be hooked. The Telegraph visits a controversial military-style boot camp where desperate parents send their offspring in the hope of weaning them off the web.
Chen Fei is nervous. His parents had told him that they would be travelling to Beijing once school broke up for the summer, but had been clear that this would not be a holiday. He has found himself in an inconspicuous building that was formerly a technology institute in Daxing, a working-class district south of Beijing. There are 70 adolescents milling about in military-style T-shirts. These slight, mostly bespectacled teenagers are in direct contrast to the burly men that appear to be serving as their guards.
In a small room inside the centre, while her son waits outside, Chen’s mother is crying as she explains to a psychiatrist why they have travelled more than 600 miles from their home in the central province of Henan. ‘Our son’s addiction to the internet is destroying our family,’ she says. ‘About two years ago he started going to cybercafes to play online, but we gave it little thought. He was a good student and we knew he had to relax. Yet the sessions became longer and he began to play every day. His schoolwork suffered so we tried to convince his teachers and classmates to distance him from that scene, but about six months ago he completely lost control and spent more than 20 hours in front of a computer.’
‘We can’t control him any more,’ his father adds. Which is why the family are here, at the Daxing Internet Addiction Treatment Centre, ready to enrol their son. ‘We want him to understand what is happening to him, to heal, and for this nightmare to be over,’ his father says.
It is decided that Chen will be committed to the centre for a period of three to six months – perhaps longer if he does not respond positively. He will undergo a therapy treatment designed by Tao Ran, a psychiatrist and colonel in the People’s Liberation Army, that combines military discipline with traditional techniques to overcome addiction. A doctor explains to Chen’s parents that their son will be denied access to all electronic devices, will be prohibited from having any outside contact, and will have to follow all orders. It will be a difficult process, he warns.
Chen will be one of 6,000 boys and (occasionally) girls to have entered the centre since it opened in 2006. When his mother breaks the news, he looks at her with repressed anger but does not utter a word as he is led away by one of Daxing’s psychologists. Then he snaps. ‘You bitch! How dare you do this to me,’ he shouts, rushing towards her. It takes five attendants to subdue him.
‘Internet addiction leads to problems in the brain similar to those derived from heroin consumption,’ Tao says in his office at the centre’s headquarters, a new building added in 2013 to increase patient capacity to 130. ‘But, generally, it is even more damaging. It destroys relationships and deteriorates the body without the person knowing. All of them have eyesight and back problems and suffer from eating disorders. In addition, we have discovered that their brain capacity is reduced by eight per cent, and the psychological afflictions are serious. If someone is spending six hours or more on the internet, we consider that to be an addiction.’
According to Tao, who began specialising in addiction treatment in 1991, 90 per cent of patients suffer from severe depression and 58 per cent have attacked their parents. ‘According to official statistics, 67 per cent of juvenile misdemeanours are committed by internet addicts that idolise the mafia and have difficulty differentiating between reality and fiction,’ he says. ‘I fear the trend will increase, because the problem is especially grave in China.’
China has the greatest number of internet users in the world – 632 million as of July 2014 – and the government believes that 10 per cent of its internet-surfing minors (24 million) are addicted.
A Chinese anti-videogame activist and university lecturer, Dr Tao Hongkai, has led the opposition to Daxing’s practices. Another doctor, New Zealander Trent Bax, wrote his PhD about Daxing and considers Tao Ran’s methods a form of torture. They both contest Tao’s assertion that internet addiction is comparable with drug addiction as the withdrawal symptoms are not linked to the taking of substances. They believe internet addiction should be considered a social deviation, and not a medically ‘curable’ condition.
The day starts with a shrill whistle at 6.30am. The patients hurriedly line up in the hallway, dressed in camouflage T-shirts. A monitor bellows out each of their names, a routine that is repeated a further five times a day. They have 20 minutes to wash and arrive at the exercise ground for their first set of military training.
‘They are very arrogant when they arrive but in bad physical shape,’ Ma Liqiang, a former soldier and now the centre’s behaviour instructor, explains. ‘They fall apart when they have to run or do push-ups. This puts them in their place.’ I spot several red-faced, panting boys stop jogging and slow to a walk. The centre’s seven girls run by, laughing at them. Embarrassed, the boys unsuccessfully attempt to pick up the pace. ‘They must learn to respect authority, get into shape, and create a very orderly routine,’ Ma says. ‘In the beginning it is difficult, but after a few months, the results are apparent.’
Tao Ran intends his treatment to become standard practice for internet addiction. He claims a success rate of 75 per cent since 2008, though there is no way of accurately substantiating this. But there are already about 300 clinics in China that incorporate elements of his model – mainly the military discipline. His manifesto has been published in 22 languages. ‘It was the Sars epidemic of 2003 that appears to have been a critical moment,’ he says. ‘The majority of students had to remain at home at the same time the internet was taking off. Without supervision, many started to play excessively. Soon after, a number of parents asked me for help.’
Tao first treated 17 adolescents, but failed in every case. In 2005 he started to admit patients to the military hospital where he worked for a 30-day period. ‘The success rate was only 30 per cent but this first step helped me to understand how the disorder functions,’ he says. ‘In 2007 I got permission to bring in the kids for three months, and a year later we started to involve the parents in the treatment. Their participation has been key to the method’s success.’
Wang Shupei, a construction worker, is one of the parents who understands their role. ‘Our son came to the centre for the first time in March last year and stayed for eight months,’ he says. ‘But soon after leaving, he began to play online again.’ So three months ago they returned to Daxing. They have spent 170,000 yuan (about £17,500) so far, a fortune for rural families.
Tao Ran says that a month of therapy costs ‘a reasonable’ 9,300 yuan, but several parents tell me this does not include meals, medical tests or medication – courses of drugs including antidepressants and sedatives are individually prescribed.
Most consider it a necessary financial sacrifice. There is a follow-up ‘after-care’ schedule, and parents are briefed on how best to supervise their child’s gradual reintegration to the web. Tao considers a patient cured if they are able to use the internet for less than six hours a day six months after leaving the centre. Despite – perhaps because of – this relatively low ‘success’ benchmark, there are plenty of familiar faces at Daxing. Twenty-two-year-old Li Wenchao is a repeat patient, and although the specialists have discharged him he has decided to stay on. ‘I am afraid to go back to a normal life,’ he says. ‘I fear I will become addicted again. That is why I have asked to stay longer, until I develop enough confidence to deal with life.’