There are around 518,000 schoolchildren in Japan who are addicted to the internet, revealed Japan’s Health Ministry.
“It’s becoming more and more of a problem. 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,” said Education Ministry Spokesperson Akifumi Sekine.
As such, the Education Ministry will offer these children a chance to attend internet “fasting camps” that do not have internet connections because online addiction is undermining their welfare, said reports.
With the problem of internet addiction exacerbated by the proliferation of smartphones, the Education Ministry also asked the government to support immersion projects that can help children socialise in the real world.
“We want to get them out of the virtual world and to encourage them to have real communication with other children and adults,” added Sekine.
Based on a previous study by the Education Ministry, children with online addictions usually suffer from nutritional and sleep disorders as well as depression. They could also end up with deep vein thrombosis, which is the formation of blood clots in deep veins, mainly in the legs.
The Japan News reported that the internet fasting camps will be offered in the next fiscal year as the funding for researching internet addiction was included in 2014’s budget. The project will make use of public facilities like outdoor youth learning centres.