A 15-year-old boy in China suffered a stroke after he spent a month playing mobile games for up to 22 hours a day, forgoing meals and sleep in the process.
The boy named Xiaobin was given a smartphone at the start of lockdown by his parents to help with his studies. Although initially used for that purpose, the boy soon began to put his attention elsewhere.
The boy's mother Ms Meng said he spent most of his time locked in his room, and she would often return to find meals untouched.
"Xiao Bin would stay at home alone by himself. He would continue to use his phone at night, saying he was still catching up with the day's lessons.
"He shut the windows and locked the door. We had no idea what he was doing in there," reporters were told.
On March 1, Xiaobin's father entered his room to find the boy collapsed, sitting limp beside his bed, wherein he was rushed to the hospital at Nanning. It was noticed he sustained himself on snacks and beverages.
A CT scan revealed he had suffered a stroke as a result of the combination of limited sleep and poor diet. The stroke caused him to lose mobility on the left side of his body, as well as causing the left side of his face to collapse.
Dr Li Chunhong, a neurologist at the hospital, said: "A lack of nutrition and rest had led to a reduced amount of blood and oxygen in his brain and caused a cerebral stroke."
Dr Li also cited the lack of routine, normally provided by a school schedule, as a reason for the change in behaviour leading to the stroke.
He has since undergone four months of treatment at the hospital with physio Dr Jin Honghua, including physiotherapy and oxygen treatment.
But Dr Jin said it is difficult to determine whether or not the boy will regain his full range of functions.
"The sooner you intervene, the faster the recovery. This is especially the case for younger patients who tend to recover faster," he said.
Internet addiction, considered a clinical condition in the country, is a persistent issue in China. Various detox centres exist around the country to aid in providing assistance at curbing the problem.
However, these have come under fire in recent years for the alleged use of corporal punishment towards those requiring help. Some recipients also reported being locked in a black room for significant periods of time as part of the treatment.
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