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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Internet Fasting Camps For Web-Addicted Kids

Today (the 28th) is the 12th wedding anniversary of your favorite blogger.

I meant me, dammit. So... something short and written 12 hours before it's posted... as I always create for a midnight (my time) delivery.

Is your child spending far too much time on the Internet, and not concentrating on things he or she should be concentrating on? Then perhaps you need to send your child to a concentration camp.

Hmm... I just read that... that sounds bad... and not entirely correct, in this case.

Japan, much like the rest of the world, realizes that today's children are spending an inordinate amount of time on the Internet.

Whether it's surfing for porn, downloading music or videos, playing games, talking to friends... kids spend too much time on-line rather than doing something constructive like homework, studying, playing, going outside, actually meeting up with friends... things you can only do whenever you want as a kid.

So... in an effort to deal with an estimated 500,000 Japanese kids supposedly addicted to the world-wide web, Japan says it is going to propose setting-up Internet Fasting Camps.

It's not a done deal. It's only thinking about doing something about internet addiction.

According to some Japan government spokesperson (I'm always leery when I can't find a name to back up the claim), Internet addiction affects some 518,000 children at junior and high schools across Japan (approximate ages of 12-18 years-old), but the figure is rising.

There is supposed to be a survey asking over 98,000 Japanese youth, whereby 8.1% of them admitted to being 'pathologically' addicted to the Internet, and reported trouble sleeping and poor nutrition.

The other 91.9% of the youth admitted they did not know what the word 'pathologically' meant. I'm kidding - this fact was made-up by myself... but who knows for realsies?

Does the blogger think we are Japanese? No, he just thinks we are sad for not paying attention to each other. Your phone skin is pretty. Thanks... I like your apps.
Ill-timed jokes aside, the proposed Internet Fasting Camps will have zero access to the Internet, smart phones or video games. In fact, to counter this, the youth will be encouraged to play sports and other outdoor activities at the days-long events.

Okay... is it just me or is this not what summer camp was like 20 years ago? Kids used to go and sleep in a log cabin, eat food with a bunch of other kids whose parent's hated them, and then go swimming in leech-infested lakes before making some wallets out of leather and beading the way the Native American or First Nations Indians would have, if they ever had a wallet back in the old days when they made their own clothing for things other than special ceremonies and for the tourist trade.

Oh... and then you burned marshmallows, applied some sort of lotion to your skin to keep the snake venom from killing you, and then set up the mosquito mesh to keep the bats from flying over your head and pooping guacamole onto you.

You know... the way camping really was! Fun!

So... Japan is setting up a camp - calling it something special like the Internet Fasting Camp - and then having it be exactly the way a camp ought to be? I hope they charge a lot of money...


Because if Japanese parents are stupid enough to need to send kids to a special camp because they are addicted... there's a greater problem... and it involves the parents.

Even in Japan, kids learn many important life lessons from their parents.
Perhaps it's because I'm not there yet with my seven-year-old... but can't you just take away all of the things that would make a kid antsy?

Place the computer in the family room - limit time on the computer to 30 minutes a day. A cellphone but NO internet access. Unplug the PS3. Take away the Nintendo 3DS.

Seriously... why does a 14-year-old need a cell phone? Look, ever since Alexander Graham Bell built the first telephone, his kid immediately got on it to call a friend. They talked for hours, even though there was only one phone. In the world.

Oh... but I need to make sure I know where they are - that they got home safe.

What... like 30 years ago parents didn't care about their kids? Couldn't the kid call you from the home phone? Aren't they smart enough to do that? If plans change, pay phones though rare do exist. Or call from a friend's house.

Where there's a will... there's a way.

Why are parents—and for the purposes of this blog, Japanese parents—enabling their kids?

Yeah, yeah... you could say... but Suzkuki-san could go to a friend's house after school and play video games.

Maybe. But why are you calling your own son 'Mister Suzuki'? And shouldn't the kids be in a school club activity? It's mandatory for everyone to volunteer for a club activity in junior and senior high school in Japan.

If the kids do skip out... why isn't a parent about at home to watch the little bastard? While not impossible, more often than not there is a family member at home at all times. A parent. Grandparent. or the parents of your grandparents.  It's Japan. There's always a relative at the house.
Parents pay for the phone and internet plans, right? Enabling...

Okay... I'm being flippant. I already see my son spending a lot of time playing video games, but when it's time to do work, all visual stimuli are removed or shut off. I'm trying to be a semi-responsible parent.

The Internet Fasting Camp, is not your typical North American-style camp, however... like the classic 'fat camps' for overweight kids, the plan is for professional (I'm guessing that professionals will be used) counselors will be present in an effort to better help your Princess Peach get control over their digital viewing habits.

It does sound like a good idea, as I am sure there are quite a few Internet addicted kids out there, not only in Japan.

Just take a walk through a shopping mall... and see how many youths and adults are walking with their heads down - not looking where they are going - and fiddling with their cell phones and texts, rather than text books.

And, for the record... I do not have a cell phone, smart phone, pager, MP3 or MP4, iPad, iPod, iRaq, iRan, Tablet... or any hand-held device except for my penis. I do not have a lap-top computer either. I'm at home, at work or I'm out. Work people contact me during work hours. Home people can contact me at home. When I'm out - I'm out.

I love listening to comedy or music in the car, and as long as I have enough gas, I don't care if I'm in a traffic jam. It already takes me between 40 - 60 minutes of driving each way to get to work/home... and that's better than many in Toronto.... but I love not being bothered at that time... my brain just gets a chance to unwind.

Somewhere preachy,
Andrew 'can't Bell this cat' Joseph

1 comment:

  1. It is good to see that extra measures are taken to prevent internet addiction.