Kids as Young as 7 Addicted to Smartphones

  • By Choi Eun-kyung

    September 26, 2023 08:16

    Some 7.3 percent of first graders in elementary school are already so dependent on their smartphones that it is causing conflicts with parents and raising concerns about their posture, eyesight and language development.
    The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said the figure comes from a survey of first-graders in 5,291 elementary schools in July.
    Some 16,699 or 7.3 percent were classified as "excessively dependent" on smartphones and requiring urgent guidance.
    They have difficulty adhering to usage limits set by parents and teachers, experience negative effects on posture, vision and other functions, or are prone to flying into a rage when they are deprived of their phones.
    Boys outnumbered girls by 9,608 to 7,091.
    The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family has been conducting surveys by selecting certain grades every year to figure out their level of addiction on smart devices. Addicts are getting younger, so it conducted a survey of first-graders for the first time.
    The ministry plans to provide educational programs on smartphone usage to parents of first-grade students -- ironically online. They also plan to develop a weekend family camp for children requiring intensive digital detox.
    "If it's difficult to provide proper guidance on smartphone usage at home, children can seek assistance or counseling from experts," a ministry official said.
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