A teen using a computer in the dark

Photo via Nevit Dilmen/Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA)

This teen enrolled in an internet addiction ‘rehab’—and died 48 hours later

The facility was being run illegally.


Samantha Grasso


Posted on Aug 17, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 8:13 pm CDT

A family in China is looking for answers after their 18-year-old son died 48 hours after they admitted him to an internet addiction “rehab” clinic.

According to the BBC, the teen’s parents brought him to a clinic located in a Fuyang city center in the eastern Anhui province on Aug. 3 to help him treat an internet addiction that they weren’t able to help themselves. The clinic advertised addiction rehab that consisted of “psychological counseling and physical training.”

Two days later, the clinic informed the parents that their son had been rushed to the hospital, where he died. His parents were allowed to see his body, and medical examiners identified the teen sustained more than 20 external and several internal injuries. The exact cause of his death is unknown, but authorities have shut down the clinic and detained four of its staff. The Telegraph reported that the clinic was being run illegally and had been previously ordered to shut down on multiple occasions.

Internet addiction rehab camps have been critiqued as “boot camps” that employ harsh practices and military-style discipline. Some practices include electroshock therapy, though China has drafted legislation in order to outlaw abusive treatment.

“My son’s body was completely covered with scars, from top to toe… When I sent my son to the centre he was still fine, how could he have died within 48 hours?” the teen’s mother, whose last name is Liu, told a local Anhui publication.


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*First Published: Aug 17, 2017, 4:21 pm CDT