The compound — part boot camp, part rehab center — resembles programs around the world for troubled youths. Drill instructors drive young men through military-style obstacle courses, counselors lead group sessions, and there are even therapeutic workshops on pottery and drumming.
But these young people are not battling alcohol or drugs. Rather, they have severe cases of what many in this country believe is a new and potentially deadly addiction: cyberspace.
They come here, to the Jump Up Internet Rescue School, the first camp of its kind in South Korea and possibly the world, to be cured.
South Korea boasts of being the most wired nation on earth. In fact, perhaps no other country has so fully embraced the Internet. Ninety percent of homes connect to cheap, high-speed broadband, online gaming is a professional sport, and social life for the young revolves around the “PC bang,” dim Internet parlors that sit on practically every street corner.
But such ready access to the Web has come at a price as legions of obsessed users find that they cannot tear themselves away from their computer screens.
Despite these undoubted problems, South Korea remains “the world’s best laboratory for broadband services.”