Too much broadband in the water supply?

Forbes just published an interesting piece about online culture in South Korea, arguably the most wired society in the world, where access to broadband is unprecedented and even your parents know what avatars are. If this is what our high-speed future looks like in the U.S., we should be thankful the bottom fell out of the telecom industry.

“When the Slammer virus shut down Internet service for several hours in Korea in January, the whole country suffered from withdrawal symptoms, says Ken Lee, chairman of Korea Telecom, the nation’s biggest broadband provider. Some 10% of the general population and 40% of 13- to 18-year-olds are addicted to the Net, says Dr. Kim Hyun Soo, 37, head of Korea’s professional society for psychologists specialized in treating Internet addiction. “I have seen kids who have not left the house for two years,” he says. ”

Acute lack of irony: the kid in the article who is punished for stealing money from his parents to accessorize his avatar can’t surf the net past midnight and is forced to spend time with his family . . . watching TV.

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