It’s a breakout!

A group of adolescents interred at an internet addiction boot camp rose up against their oppressors last week, restraining their supervisor and fleeing the facility to taste sweet, sweet freedom. At least until their parents sent them back. Bummer.

China admits it has an internet addiction problem, which is the first step towards recovery. The popular second step right now is sending teens and adults addicted to the internet and online gaming to boot camps, where instructors use military techniques to try and instill a sense of discipline in folks who’d rather just play World of Warcraft.

A group of 14 addicts aged 15 to 22 interred at the Huai’an Internet Addiction Treatment Centre in China’s Jiangsu province decided they’d had enough last week, tying their supervisor to his bed and fleeing the grounds. Their freedom was short-lived, however. All 14 were caught by police after failing to pay the fare for a taxi they used in their daring escape. Thirteen of those have already been returned to the center by their parents. Someone sound The Price Is Right’s fail horn for me, would you please?

Does studying not get a shortcut command?

Oh, WoW. Your players never fail to amaze us.

Federal Communications Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate claims that World of Warcraft and other online games are directly responsible for students dropping out altogether. In a speech to the Practicing Law Institute last week she cited a recent FCC survey,

“With the explosion of educational resources available online, one might think parents would be 100% pleased with the Internet’s role in their children’s lives, but surveys show just the opposite: a late 2006 survey that showed 59% of parents think the Internet has been a totally positive influence in their children’s lives– down from 67% in 2004.You might find it alarming that one of the top reasons for college drop-outs in the U.S. is online gaming addiction – such as World of Warcraft – which is played by 11 million individuals worldwide”

Tate provides no real evidence of her claim, but we’ve also seen what happens to people who let their lives be dominated by an MMO’s wily charms. While it’s hard to believe that huge swathes of people are dropping out purely to play Warcraft, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to think that it had a hand in a few educations getting flushed away. As always, however, this is less Blizzard’s fault and more the fault of whoever made the decision to let a computer game control them.

Though, just to be on the safe side, we’ll make the illogical jump to a conclusion that Blizzard Studios is NOT a real American hero. Because someone has to be the first to do so.