The smartphone addiction rate among teenagers has reportedly increased precipitously in tandem with growing smartphone ownership. For instance, 1 out of 4 teenagers and 1 out of 3 middle school students are classified as at-risk for smartphone addiction.
According to the results of a survey on Internet addiction in 2013 announced by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and the National Information Society Agency on March 24, the rate of adolescents 10-19 years old belonging to a smartphone addiction risk group was 25.5 percent. The survey was conducted from September to October of last year involving 15,564 smartphone users aged 10 to 54.
The ratio of the smartphone addiction risk group more than doubled in 2013 from 2011 (11.4 percent), and increased 7.1 percent from a year ago. By age, middle schoolers were the most vulnerable age group with 29.3 percent, followed by high schoolers (23.6 percent), and elementary school students (22.6 percent).
The proportion of the potential at-risk group among an addiction risk group was 23.1 percent last year, a 15.7 percent year-on-year gain. It shows a dramatic increase in the smartphone addiction rate. In general, smartphone users spent 4.1 hours a day on average, but those who belong to a smartphone addiction risk group spent 5.4 hours. They used their smartphones for mobile messaging apps (40.6 percent), news search (17.6 percent), and mobile games (8.3 percent).
It was found that the smartphone use of a teenager in an addiction risk group interferes with their daily life. For example, they said that they feel uneasy without a smartphone. They also remarked that spending too much time using smartphones became a habit, and thus they can’t resist the temptation, even though they think that they should stop it.
Smartphone addiction is closely related to the smartphone penetration rate. The smart device ownership rate among youth between the ages of 6 and 19 was 21.4 percent in 2011, 64.5 percent in 2012, and 74.1 percent in 2013. The ratio nearly quadrupled in two years.