Internet addiction?an obsession with online games, chatrooms and pornography?is an increasingly recognized problem in ultrawired societies like South Korea. But widespread web access is relatively new in China, and there's been little concern until lately about the perils of overuse. Tao Ran, director of Beijing Military Hospital's Internet Addiction Treatment Center, claims that up to two- thirds of violent crimes committed by adolescents are driven by Internet obsession.
In response, China has launched a 10-city "Break Internet Addiction" tour aimed at the nation's imperiled youth. If the problem isn't tackled now, says sociologist Tao Hongkai, it could have grave consequences. "The kids who are are already in their late teens or twenties don't want to find a job," he laments. "They just want to stay at home and play games."