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South Korea is one of the world's most wired countries. Up to 90 per cent of homes have high speed broadband internet access and 24-hour internet cafes are found on almost every street corner.

But this ready access to the web has come at a price, with the government classifying two million South Koreans as "internet addicts".

Much of this obsession is with online gaming, a problem that has long been treated as a teenage affliction. 

But recent trends reveal a more worrying problem - growing numbers of adults are falling into online gaming obsessions and the consequences are severe, sometimes at the cost of lives.

Users have dropped dead from exhaustion after playing online games for days on end. Earlier this year a young couple was sentenced when their baby died from malnutrition after the parents spent nightly 12-hour sessions on the net living in an online world.
 
The government is spending millions to educate the public about the dangers of internet addiction and to fund counseling centres for the web obsessed but the problem appears to be growing.
  
This week on 101 East, we look at the impact of internet addiction as more and more South Koreans get caught in the web.

This episode of 101 East can be seen from Thursday, December 30, at the following times GMT: Thursday: 1230, 2330; Friday: 0630; Saturday: 0330, 1930; Sunday: 0330; Monday: 0830; Tuesday: 0730, 1430; Wednesday: 0300.

Source: Al Jazeera