Youngsters' Dependence on Smartphones Deepens

  • By Kim Eun-gyeong

    May 27, 2022 13:40

    Many children and youngsters depend on their smartphones to an extent that they are helpless and bereft without it, according to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family on Thursday.

    The ministry released a survey of 1.27 million fourth, seventh and tenth graders nationwide. Some 235,687 or 18.5 percent of them were classified as "at risk" of overdependence on smartphones or the Internet.

    Seventh graders were the biggest risk group with 20.5 percent showing overdependence, followed by tenth graders (19.3 percent) and fourth graders (16.0 percent).

    But among fourth graders the increase was the greatest, up 8.6 percent from two years ago.

    The increase was less drastic among seventh (2.2 percent) and tenth graders (0.3 percent), but that was partly because their participation in the survey dwindled.

    The findings suggest that the age group vulnerable to digital addiction is becoming younger and younger, the ministry said. A whopping 96.5 percent of fourth graders in the survey had smartphones.

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