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Friday, 5 May, 2000, 10:52 GMT 11:52 UK
Students offered $5,000 screen break
Students can earn cash by attending concerts
Screen-addicted students are being offered cash rewards to stop surfing the internet - and to start enjoying live entertainment.

William Woods University in Missouri in the United States wants students to turn off their computers and start attending live cultural and sports events - such as concerts, plays and athletics.

As an incentive, the university will award points for attendance at campus cultural evenings - which can be converted into a rebate against tuition fees, up to a maximum of $5,000.

Students are being offered money to lure them away from the internet
The scheme follows the disastrous attendance at a recent college event, when only three students attended a performance by a celebrated harpist.

Such a low turn-out was "embarrassing", said Rich Starr, one of the three students at the concert - who said that too many students were stuck in their dormitories.

"Students play video games and listen to music on computers so many hours of the day," he said, speaking in support of the university's efforts to cultivate the arts.

The university's vice president, Lance Kramer, says that he wants students to have a more rounded experience of life.

Downloading music

"After all the technically challenging things are mastered, we were concerned we weren't combining them with cultural understandings, human sensitivities."

Under the university's cultural promotion plans, attending a three-hour classical music concert would be worth three points - with the $5,000 maximum payment available for students who collect 45 points throughout the year.

The university is attempting to turn a tide of increasing internet use among students in the United States.

Surveys have shown that many campuses now have individual access to the internet in student accommodation - with young people going online to chat, swap e-mails and download music.

And while William Woods University is paying students to turn off their screens and go to live concerts, there are websites which are offering students money to surf - in exchange for filling in questionnaires and providing marketing information.

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