Boot camp for internet gaming addicts

By: Arien Fuentes

Thirty-three year old photographer Lorenzo Maccotta spent a week in one of the hundreds of military camps for the internet and video game addicts in China. Maccotta had to go through all of the training in order for him to take pictures of internees. “The main challenge was to keep my mind away from the repetition imposed by the school,” he said. “It was not easy to find the distance to set a point of view.”

During his time there, Maccotta met people that would play video games for 30 hours straight. Those attending the camp could be anywhere from 8 to 30 years old. The Internees would be sent there after their parents noticed a drastic change of their behavior or personality after being constantly on the computer. Internees in these boot camps could stay there anywhere from few weeks to many months following intensive routines filled with physical training and ethnic lessons.

“Their personalities are annihilated,” Maccotta said. “They stay behind a formal posture of silence and obedience. They don’t show any sadness, but I’m sure they miss families and friends.” Officials who lead the center say that physical training is one of the best ways to “cure” internet and videogame addiction. In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association mentioned internet gaming addiction in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders saying that its “a condition warranting more clinical research and experience before it might be considered for inclusion in the main book as a formal disorder.”

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