Wang “Nicky” Yuchao, a Chinese 16-year-old, thought he was going skiing in Russia with his parents. Instead they brought him to one of some 400 rehabilitation clinics in China dedicated to treating Internet addiction disorder.
Wang spends his days confined to a repurposed army base in Daxing, just south of Beijing. The facility is stark, with cold gray hallways and metal bars in places. Treatment consists of a combination of army boot camp drills, therapy sessions, board games and antidepressants. And of course, he is given no access to Internet or gaming consoles.