Japan to launch internet ‘fasting camps’ for kids

With many Japanese children addicted to the internet, the ministry of education attempts to curb this addiction by introducing internet ‘fasting camps’. Finbarr Toesland reports.

Internet Addiction in Japan

The Japanese ministry of education is taking the extraordinary step of creating Internet “fasting camps” where children who are deemed to be addicted to the web will have the chance to experience an environment where no computers or smart phones are allowed. Instead these kids will play outdoors and receive counseling on their “addiction.

It is estimated that there are some 518,000 children in Japan who are addicted to technology, such as tablets, gaming systems and notebooks. There is a risk that if left untreated this addiction can lead to poor results at school, problems keeping a healthy sleeping pattern, deep vein thrombosis and even depression.

“We want to get them out of the virtual world and to encourage them to have real communication with other children and adults,” stated Akifumi Sekine, a spokesman for the ministry of education.

However, not everybody is confident that this is the best way to help these children, with the ‘cold turkey’ method of instantly removing all gadgets possibly doing more harm than good. It is unrealistic to take all electronic devices away as we rely on them to some extend every day and they have become an integral part of society.

South Korea was the first Asian country to have a boot camp for internet addicted teenagers. The Jump Up Internet Rescue School in Mokcheon was started in 2007. The School provided a mix of military style physical exercise and rehabilitation

Although a good step to promote healthy activities; many families are wondering why the Japanese government is intervening? Another question being asked is if there would be “fasting camps” for children with a food addiction or a shopping addiction?

The Japanese government also urges that the parents of these children should shoulder the bulk of the responsibility for their wellbeing, as the government simply does not have the resources or right to control the children’s internet usage.

South Korea was the first Asian country to have a boot camp for internet addicted teenagers. The Jump Up Internet Rescue School in Mokcheon was started in 2007. The School provided a mix of military style physical exercise and rehabilitation. However, Japan has been way behind the curve and is hoping to catch up soon.

 By Finbarr Toesland

 

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