Internet ‘Fasting Camps’ In Japan Will Treat Web-Addicted Kids By Forcing Them To Socialize Outdoors
It's every modern teenager's nightmare: A digital detox retreat set outdoors without a smartphone, computer screen or keypad in sight. Internet "fasting camps" are cropping up in Japan after fears that kids are spending too much time on the Web -- at the expense of their physical and social wellbeing. The camps aim to treat kids for digital addictions, and will have them socialize through outdoor activities and team sports.
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According to The Telegraph, all that mouse clicking and screen scrolling can lead to sleep and eating disorders, depression and poor performance in school. Apparently, Internet addiction among Japanese kids has even been linked to cases of deep vein thrombosis, which is usually experienced by passengers on long international plane flights.
So what has Japan's ministry of education decided is the best solution to its youth's addiction to the Web? Pry the computers, smartphones and game devices from their hands, and force them to socialize at Internet-free retreats.
"We want to get them out of the virtual world and to encourage them to have real communication with other children and adults," Akifumi Sekine, a spokesman for Japan's ministry of education, told The Daily Telegraph.
Kids sent to Internet fasting camps will have to furlough their online personas and actually interact with people face to face. What will kids participate in at Internet fasting camps? There will reportedly be outdoor activities, team sports and games. There are even plans to have psychiatrists and clinical psychotherapists close by to help kids assimilate into an Internet-free environment.
Business Insider reports that there are an estimated 500,000 Japanese kids between 12 and 18 years of age who are addicted to the Internet. It's apparently become such a problem among Japan's youth that the ministry of education has asked the government to fund immersion programs that will get kids off the computer and help them socialize.
Internet addiction afflicts about 38 percent of people, The Daily Mail reports. Symptoms of Internet addiction include changes in mood, diminishing social life, inattentiveness and the inability to control how long you spend on the internet. The American Academy of Pediatrics also says that social media can cause children to have difficulties in school and even lead to obesity.
What do you think of Japan's proposed Internet "fasting camps?" A real solution to a real epidemic, or just silly?
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