Category: Society / January 9, 2013 4:33 PM EST
Four months ago, the parents of a teenage South Korean girl were at their wits' end over her addiction to surfing the Internet for pornography.
But now, thanks to a horse riding therapy program, their daughter appears to be back in control of her life.
In South Korea the world's most wired country and where almost two-thirds of the population owns a smartphone, addiction to the Internet has become a major problem. Government data says 680,000 children aged between 10 and 19 are Internet addicts, or around 10 percent of the age group.
To counter computer addiction, the government introduced a so-called "Shutdown Law" last year, which blocks gamers under 16 from playing between midnight and six a.m. But its effect has been limited as teens circumvent the restrictions by using their parents' accounts.
An independent expert backed the center’s theory that horse-riding can help kids to overcome their internet addiction.
The Korea Riding Association has two therapy centers and about 50 people a day go through its programs to treat a range of issues such as depression, attention hyperactivity deficit disorder (ADHD) and internet addiction.
The association plans to build 30 more centers across South Korea, which has a population of 50 million, by 2022 to meet the rising demand for its therapy.