It has been more than 10 years since China’s health ministry officially recognized “Internet Addiction Disorder” as a disease. And although the evidence for such a designation remains far from solid, the consequences of that designation have been startlingly clear.

The Chinese government has, among other things, restricted new internet cafes from opening, requiring them to be closed during certain times of the day, and limiting time adolescents may spend at internet cafes. Meanwhile, a network of boot camps, many of which are government run, have sprung up across the country in which many of the government-estimated 23 million young “internet addicts” are enrolled to receive treatment for what has been dubbed “electronic heroin.” These facilities employ military-style discipline and often brutal corporal punishment. In 2017, BBC News reported the death of an 18-year-old registered in one of those camps, sparking Chinese newspaper editorials calling for tighter regulation of these centers.

China’s experience is a warning about the perils of medicalizing heavy internet use. Yet other countries are following its lead by recognizing social media or internet addiction as a behavioral disorder, often in conjunction with public funding for counseling and addiction treatment centers. Japan’s Ministry of Health, for example, pays for “internet fasting camps” in which young addicts receive help in a tech-free environment. And in 2011, despite objections from parents that it infringes on their autonomy, South Korea placed a curfew on teen internet gaming, blocking gaming sites after midnight for people ages 16 and younger.