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Addicted to the Web? One Country Is Considering an 'Internet Fasting Camp

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"We want to get them out of the virtual world and to encourage them to have real communication with other children and adults."

Image: AP - Dusty Compton

Internet addiction can be a real problem. We see it everywhere - at home, the office, on the roads and even in houses of worship. And it can create a host of side effects, both mental and physical. Sleep deprivation, a lack of socialization and social skills, depression, repetitive stress injuries, eyestrain and various eating disorders are among the most common issues linked to being too wired to the digital world.

Computers and kids AP

If web addiction becomes so prevalent, should the government step in? Japan is looking into taking action to solve their problem with it.

The Japanese government thinks hundreds of thousands of its teenagers have a big problem with addiction to the web, and they're considering taking some fairly drastic action to face the problem. According to official estimates, Japan has 518,000 web-addicted youths. That number comes right from the Japanese Ministry of Education. Akifumi Sekine, a representative from the ministry, told the U.K. Daily Telegraph the numbers are startling.

"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," Sekine said.

The ministry isn't just sounding the alarm bell on the rising web addiction, they have a plan.

1. A year-long research program to see how big the problem really is.

2. Government-funded "immersion programs" to get kids away from the Internet. (One Blaze employee heard this and remarked, "We had that growing up, it was called 'Go outside and play!'")

3. The creation of outdoor learning centers where kids will have zero access to anything online.  The goal, according to Education Ministry representative Akifumi Sekine: "We want to get them out of the virtual world and to encourage them to have real communication with other children and adults."

(H/T: Daily Telegraph)

Are your kids addicted to the Internet? (Are you? -- be honest.) Is the addiction so powerful that it requires government intervention?  Take our Blaze poll on web addiction...and feel free to share this story with your Facebook friends.

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