KOREA: 'No Internet Day' set for students

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KOREA: 'No Internet Day' set for students

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KOREA: 'No Internet Day' set for students
Government sponsored programs aimed at fighting Internet addiction include once-a-week cyber-fast

Korea Times
Friday, September 15, 2006
By Kim Rahn

Students will be encouraged not to use the Internet one day per week, as part of government efforts to prevent teenagers' getting addicted to surfing the Web.

The Information and Communication Ministry said on Thursday that the government will introduce the "No Internet Day" system at some schools in a pilot program and will then expand it gradually to all schools nationwide.

The ministry said the measure was needed as a growing number of youth is becoming Internet addicts. Recent studies showed about 20 percent of South Korean students exhibited tendencies toward becoming Internet addicts -- lacking control in using the Internet and having difficulty living an everyday life.

The government plans to launch the pilot program on 17,000 students in 20 elementary, middle and high schools across the country. Students will voluntarily designate one day per week when they will not use the Internet except for learning purposes such as homework.

Also, the ministry will expand education on proper Internet usage by providing an education program to 200,000 students at 600 schools this year, double the previous planned figure of 100,000 students at 300 schools.

"We will increase the ratio of elementary students who will take part in the program from the previous 25 percent to 45 percent as the average age of people starting to use the Internet is getting younger," a ministry official said.

Professionals will be dispatched to schools to counsel Internet addicts. Some 1,800 students underwent counseling in the first half of this year, and an additional 2,000 will receive treatment by the end of the year.

Teachers will also be provided with a guidebook to prevent Internet addiction.

The ministry also plans to boost the public's understanding about Internet addiction through various campaigns held together with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the National Youth Commission. The commission also operates Internet addiction counseling centers at 19 university hospitals and 137 youth centers nationwide.

Date Posted: 9/15/2006

Liz Woolley