The addicts of the most wired nation in the world…

Just who is the most wired nation in the world? Well, Korea boasts this title and it may well be true with over 90% of Korean homes online. For a nation as well wired as Korea it has been suggested that many of its internet users have become compulsive or even addicted to being online. It is generally suggested that such addictions are only looked at as problems once they become disruptive to ever day life, causing behavior that is other abnormal and potentially damaging. Such is the case of people who die at their computers after days of endless online gaming. To combat such a problem, South Korea has instituted a first of its kind real world Boot Camp to help break the addiction.

During a session, participants live at the camp, where they are denied computer use and allowed only one hour of cellphone calls a day, to prevent them from playing online games via the phone. They also follow a rigorous regimen of physical exercise and group activities, like horseback riding, aimed at building emotional connections to the real world and weakening those with the virtual one.

While I agree that disruptive and damaging behavior caused by the internet is unhealthy and something should be done about it, my suggestion is to start from the other side. Instead of trying to correct the problem after it happens, how about prevent it before it occurs, especially when it comes to adolescents?

One participant, Lee Chang-hoon, 15, began using the computer to pass the time while his parents were working and he was home alone. He said he quickly came to prefer the virtual world, where he seemed to enjoy more success and popularity than in the real one.

He spent 17 hours a day online, mostly looking at Japanese comics and playing a combat role-playing game called Sudden Attack. He played all night, and skipped school two or three times a week to catch up on sleep.

I am in no position to place ‘blame’ anywhere, but I do have to question why was there a lack of parent forethought or supervision? I feel the same way about games being rated M or movies being rated R. Nothing should prevent access to the internet, or games being released, or movies being shown just because kids may or may not have access to them. Why should it become the industry’s or government’s burden to bare? Do the parents not hold any responsibility here? I wonder how long before a boot camp opens in the US. One think you can be sure of, unlike in South Korea where the government sponsors the camp, there will be no free help here.