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Japan proposes ‘Internet fasting’ camps for its technology-addicted kids

The Japanese ministry of education has asked the government to fund camps where teens will be cut off from computers.

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Playing a game on a Samsung galaxy tab 10.1. (Google/Courtesy)

Concerned that Japan’s technology-saturated teens are losing the ability to interact with the real world, the Japanese ministry of education has asked the government to fund “Internet fasting” camps, where kids will be cut off from computers.

"It's becoming more and more of a problem," Akifumi Sekine, a spokesman for the ministry, told The Daily Telegraph. "We estimate this affects around 518,000 children at middle and high schools across Japan, but that figure is rising and there could be far more cases because we don't know about them all."

The current figure means Internet addiction afflicts 8.1 percent of junior and senior high school students, causing problems such as sleep disruption.

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Internet fasting camps for students already exist in South Korea, and organizations like Oakland, Calif.-based Digital Detox offer unplugged summer camps for adults who can’t switch off.

Japan’s camps would separate young people from their computers and smartphones and force them to join in outdoor activities, team sports and games, the education ministry said. Psychiatrists and clinical psychotherapists would hover nearby to provide counseling should the physical world prove to be too overwhelming.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/japan/130830/japan-proposes-internet-fasting-camps-its-technology