Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

'Net Fasting' Camp Curbs Teenage Online Usage

Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

'Net Fasting' Camp Curbs Teenage Online Usage

Article excerpt

The government has successfully conducted a trial "Net fasting" camp aimed at keeping Internet-addicted teenagers away from smartphones and computers.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry said a trial run was conducted in August last year. According to a survey conducted three months later, daily Internet usage fell by about 30 percent.

The ministry plans to run the camp in earnest from this fiscal year. The test run had "certain effects as they became aware of interesting aspects of life in the real world," according to a ministry official, "by distancing themselves from an online environment and starting to build new human relationships."

A fiscal 2014 Cabinet Office survey indicates middle school students spend an average two hours and 10 minutes online during weekdays and three hours and five minutes for high school students. High school students using the Internet for at least five hours a day accounted for 19 percent. The hours tended to become longer year after year.

In some cases, addicted students started skipping school. Seeking appropriate measures, the education ministry decided to hold a nine-day, eight-night camp last summer by outsourcing the project to the National Institution for Youth Education.

Ten male participants, ranging from middle school to university students who spent an average 10 hours a day online, experienced life without smartphones as they stayed at the National Chuo Youth Friendship Center in Gotemba, Shizuoka Prefecture. …

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