One in four juveniles and one in three middle schoolchildren in Korea could be at risk of addiction to their smartphone, experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they do not have the gadget to hand.
A survey for the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning categorized some 25.5 percent of youngsters between 10 and 19 as at risk. That is 7.1 percentage points more than last year and more than double the 11.4 percent in 2011.
The survey was conducted among 15,564 people aged 10-54 across the country. It showed that altogether 11.8 percent of all smartphone users are at risk of addiction.
Middle schoolchildren topped the list at 29.3 percent, followed by high schoolers (23.6 percent) and elementary schoolchildren (22.6 percent).
Some 2.4 percent of juveniles are categorized as high risk, using their phones for 5.4 hours a day on average, as against 4.1 hours for all smartphone users.
The juveniles mainly use services like messenger app KakaoTalk (27.2 percent), Facebook (15.5 percent), and mobile games (14.8 percent).