Japan Sends Youth to Digital Detox Centers

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

Technology sucks people in, sometimes for hours upon hours. The screen is a way to escape and divert attention away from what’s going on around. Screens and the content on them – whether it’s on an iPhone, a laptop, an iPad, or a Kindle, have the ability to get people addicted, and get them addicted fast. In some cases, the addiction is so bad, that people, both young and old, have difficulty sleeping or interacting on a basic social level. In fact, the Japanese government has seen such negative repercussions with excessive screen time that they have gone so far to have estimated that about 500,000 teens are addicted to the Internet. 

It is such a problem that there are digital detox centers showing up in Japan, where people are instructed to leave their devices at the door and spend time away from their computers, phones, or other electronic products. Asian countries have seen particularly extreme cases of Internet and gaming addiction. Individuals have died because they have become so engrossed in their games that they choose not to eat, sleep, or use the restroom. Other families have sold their children to help support their technology addiction. (1) 

Digital detox centers have popped up around countries in Asia, as well as the United States and the United Kingdom. For people that are addicted to their devices, these centers can provide a way for their brains to rest and get away from the stimulation that the digital world provides. Do you feel the need to be attached to the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Do you feel out of control if you lose cell coverage or if your Internet stops working for a long period of time? Have you seen your real life relationships struggle because of your need to be connected all the time? These can be signs of technology addiction. If you struggle with controlling your technology use, or if you have seen negative consequences come out of your use of technology, seek help. 

1) Moodley, Kiran. “Japan tries online detox for 500,000 addicted to the internet.” The Independent. June 23, 2015. http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Coquitlam+teenager+sentenced+months+jail+swatting/11201301/story.html