November 10, 2008, 10:22 AM — Internet addiction is on the rise in the world's largest Net market, and now Chinese doctors have officially defined it as an ailment.
Users who spend six hours or more per day online, and exhibit at least one symptom including difficulty sleeping or concentrating, yearning to be online, irritation, and mental or physical distress are classified as meeting the definition of addiction.
Being hooked on the Internet has been considered a problem in Chinese society as early as 2005, when the first clinic dedicated to Internet addiction opened in Beijing. It began accepting patients who exhibited dependency symptoms for those of substance abuse.
China also has "boot camps" designed to help addicts kick the habit by helping to change their routine.
About 10 percent of China's 253 million Internet users exhibit some form of addiction to the medium, and 70 percent of those people are young men, an official Xinhua News Agency report said.