Teenage online gambling in South Korea is on the rise, causing great concern for the government and law enforcement. Shocking statistics show a 75 percent increase in teenagers seeking treatment for gambling addiction between 2018 and 2022. While there are rehabilitation programs available, there is a significant lack of medical support, with the National Center for Youth Internet Addiction Treatment being the only facility in the country offering specialized rehab programs for online gambling addiction.
The government is taking decisive action to combat this issue. To address the growing crisis, South Korea has implemented a unique approach. The National Center for Youth Internet Addiction Treatment runs a state-run rehab camp where participants surrender their smartphones and internet-enabled devices for an intensive 11-night and 12-day program. During their stay, teenagers engage in activities like music, basketball, and ping pong, taking a holistic approach to addiction treatment. However, the intensity of the program poses a challenge, with some participants leaving before completion.
The severity of the problem became even more evident during a crackdown on online gambling by the National Police Agency, which resulted in 39 out of 353 arrests being juveniles. This highlights the urgency of addressing the crisis.
Data from the Gender Equality and Family Ministry’s 2023 survey on habits presents a concerning picture, revealing that 28,838 teens are at risk of falling into online gambling. Experts attribute this rise to the familiarity of the digital environment, with early exposure to digital devices and high-speed internet exacerbating the issue.
In conclusion, South Korea is facing a pressing issue as teen online gambling addiction continues to grow. The government’s response, including the establishment of a unique rehab camp and increased law enforcement efforts, underscores the urgency of addressing this crisis and protecting the younger generation from the dangers of online gambling.
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