South Korea's Jump Up Internet Rescue School is the first of its kind, providing rehabilitation to those who cannot escape from the confines of the great interweb. Fittingly, South Korea is the world's foremost internet connected nation, with over 90% of homes having access to cheap, high speed broadband. Worryingly, this has been the reason for the establishment of a rehabilitation centre for those who are addicted; the ready availability of the internet means users have grown seriously dependent on the world wide web's offerings. As nations extend the reach of the internet throughout their own countries, South Korea's situation may serve as a warning beacon in light of further expansion. Some may deduce that preventative measures need to be implemented, prior to expansion, to avoid internet addiction becoming a global issue. The notion of a rehabilitation centre of this kind certainly seems comical initially, but beyond its novelty value, concern surrounding addiction continues to grow. Indeed, the U.S. (and other countries) have stipulated compulsive internet use as a tangible mental health issue.
With people literally dying from playing online games, this kind of treatment for the increasingly obsessed may eventually become the norm, but whatever the outcome, we cannot help but think this is an inevitable side effect of a medium that has so much to offer in a positive light. Responsible parenting and general lifestyle choices could ensure this problem is quashed right where it begins, but we doubt it. We would hate to think internet addiction becomes a real world problem, but with initiatives such as OLPC, might the internet eventually become the premier form of escapism? [New York Times]