First boot camp for internet-addicted teenagers (Sth Korea)

UK Telegraph 19 November 2007
The world’s first ever boot camp for teenagers addicted to the internet may be the shape of things to come, according to experts. The Jump Up Internet Rescue School in Mokcheon, South Korea, is similar to programmes around the world for troubled youths, providing a mix of military style, physical exercise and rehabilitation. Inmates are pushed over assault courses and learn to ride horses, as well as being given therapy workshops on more creative pursuits such as pottery and drumming. But the aim is not to wean them off drugs, alcohol or crime, but on their obsessive use of computers in a country with almost universal Internet access. Concern over compulsive internet use is growing in South Korea, where 90 per cent of homes have high-speed broadband connections and some online gameplayers have died from exhaustion after playing for days on end. The Korean government has set up 140 internet addiction counselling centres, treatment programs in nearly 100 hospitals, and now the rescue camp. Psychiatrists estimate that up to 30 per cent of South Koreans under 18 are at risk of internet addiction. They spend at least two hours a day online, usually playing games or chatting, though some being treated at the camp say they were on the internet for as much as 17 hours a day. A minority suffer withdrawal symptoms, including anger, when prevented from going on the internet.

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