Children in Japan are to be sent to internet 'fasting camps' to curb their screen addictions.
The Telegraph reports that over 500,000 kids between 12 and 18 are suffering from IT addiction in the country, and that the Ministry of Education is to take steps to combat it.
Ministry spokesman Akifumi Sekine told the paper that he estimated 'around 518,000 children at middle and high schools' were in the grips of web addiction, but that the 'figure is rising and there could be far more cases because we don't know about them all'.
He said a comprehensive research project was being undertaken in the coming year, and that his ministry has asked the Japanese government to fund programmes to get children away from their computers, mobile phones and hand-held game devices.
"We want to get them out of the virtual world and to encourage them to have real communication with other children and adults," he told the paper.
The ministry's proposed 'fasting' camps would be held at outdoor learning centres where there was no web or computer access. The children would take part in team sports and games while being offered therapy from psychiatrists and clinical psychotherapists to fight their addiction.