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Muju, South Korea – The South Korean government is planning to create treatment centres where youngsters will be forced to live without their mobile phones and computers.
A rural school in the country is enrolling teenagers every few weeks where their phones and laptops are taken away and they are encouraged to read, play games and interact in the real world.
“While they’re here, they get to experience the fact that they can live without their smartphones. We believe this can give them the ability to exercise self-control,” Shim Yong-Chool, the centre’s director, told Al Jazeera.
Boys and girls are divided in separate groups and the treatment sessions last up to four weeks. The participants are encouraged to think about potential careers and to plan their future actively.
Yoon Jang-Won, 16, told Al Jazeera that he was spending at least 12 hours every day on his phone before coming to the centre.
“When I am about to sleep, I feel like I want to use the phone,” he said.
“It’s about time to use the phone, I want to do it. Such thoughts occur to me. But, as we all live together here, I can manage without it. It’s okay.”