National exam | Arts Stream | Ordinary Session 2017

National exam | Arts Stream | Ordinary Session 2017

The exam’s Comprehension Text

       [1] There are 632 million internet users in China and 24 million of Chinese children are thought to be addicted to the internet. Desperate parents are trying hard to help their children by sending them to addiction treatment centres.

       [2] Chen Fei, one of these children, is nervous. His parents had told him that they would be travelling to Beijing for the summer, but that would not be a holiday. He has found himself in the Internet Addiction Treatment Centre in Daxing, south of Beijing. In a small room inside the centre, while her son waits outside, Chen’s mother is crying as she explains to a psychiatrist why they have travelled more than 600 miles from their home. “Our son’s addiction to the internet is destroying the family,” she says. “About two years ago, he started going to cybercafés to play online, but we gave it little thought. He was a good student and we knew that he had to relax. Yet the sessions became longer and he began to play every day. His schoolwork suffered, so we tried to convince his teachers and classmates to distance him from that scene. Six months ago, he completely lost control and started spending more than 20 hours in front of a computer.”

       [3] “We can’t control him anymore. We want him to understand what is happening to him, to get better, and for this nightmare to be over,” his father adds. It is decided that Chen will be committed to the centre for a period of three to six months – perhaps longer if he does not respond positively. He will undergo a therapy treatment designed by Dr. Tao Ran, a psychiatrist and colonel in the army, who combines military discipline with traditional techniques to overcome addiction. A doctor explains to Chen’s parents that their son will have no access to any electronic device, no contact with the outside world, and he will have to follow all orders. “It will be a difficult process,” the doctor warns.

       [4] “Internet addiction leads to problems in the brain similar to those caused by drug consumption,” Dr. Tao says. “But, generally, it is even more damaging. It destroys relationships and harms the body. All our patients have eyesight and back problems and suffer from eating disorders. If someone is spending six hours or more on the internet, we consider that to be an addiction. It’s true that a month of treatment costs a lot, but most parents consider it a necessary financial sacrifice,” he adds.

       [5] Dr. Tao Ran wants his treatment to become standard practice for internet addiction. He claims a success rate of 75% since 2008. There are already about 300 clinics in China that adopt elements of his model – mainly the military discipline.

Adapted from:


National exam | Arts Stream | Ordinary Session 2017 with Answers



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