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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Net-addiction rehab in Korea

It's South Korea's first "Internet addiction" rehab camp and it may be the first in the world too. The Jump Up Internet Rescue School is "part boot camp, part rehab center [and] resembles programs around the world for troubled youths," the New York Times reports. "Drill instructors drive young men through military-style obstacle courses, counselors lead group sessions, and there are even therapeutic workshops on pottery and drumming." The incredible accessibility of broadband Internet in Korea, where 90% of households are connected even while "dim Internet parlors that sit on practically every street corner" seems to have some associated problems. The Times quotes Korean child psychiatrist Ahn Dong-hyun as saying that "up to 30%" of South Korean children and teens (about 2.4 million) are "at risk of Internet addiction" and American psychiatrist Jerald Block as saying that "up to nine million Americans may be at risk for the disorder, which he calls pathological computer use. Only a handful of clinics in the United States specialize in treating it, he said." The article leads with the story of a 15-year-old patient at Jump Up who'd been spending 17 hours a day online. [For Dr. Block's work in the area of videogames, see "Notable fresh videogame findings."]

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