One million Korean smartphone users ‘at high risk of addiction’
Messenger apps are the number one culprit for addiction
By Chyung Eun-ju and Park Si-soo
More than one million South Koreans are smartphone addicts who face the risk of developing depression, insomnia or other health problems unless they receive immediate consultation or treatment, according to state data.
The National Information Society Agency (NIA) said 1,042,000 people were at “high risk of addiction” in 2016, up 1.6 per cent from the previous year.
Teenagers (aged 10-19) made up the biggest portion of 30.6 per cent, followed by preschoolers (3-9) at 17.9 per cent, adults under 60 at 16.1 per cent and adults over 60 at 11.7 per cent.
Messenger apps were the number one culprit for addiction, followed by games, web surfing and social media.
High-risk addicts refer to people who use smartphones for more than 5 hours 15 minutes a day.
Their diagnostic criteria include persistent smartphone use despite recurrent physical or psychological side effects, continued unsuccessful attempts to reduce smartphone use, and symptoms of anxiety, dysphoria or irritability after a period of withdrawal from use, according to the NIA.
Those who do not receive proper treatment can develop depression, insomnia or memory loss, said the agency.
The NIA runs 18 consulting centres in South Korea to help smartphone addicts.