SEOUL, Aug. 25 (Korea Bizwire) — Some 17 percent of young students in South Korea are addicted to the internet and smartphones, a government survey suggested Tuesday.
The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family released the result of its survey of teenagers’ internet and smartphone usage, conducted on 1,331,441 fourth graders of elementary schools and first graders of middle and high schools across the country from June to July.
Of them, 228,120 students, or 17.1 percent, were found to be excessively dependent on either the internet or smartphones or both, up 1.1 percentage point from 16 percent last year. Respondents were allowed to give multiple answers.
“As teenagers’ media use is increasing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we ask parents to pay special attention to prevent adverse effects, such as overdependence,” Shim Min-chul, an official at the ministry, said.
The ministry said it plans to provide counseling, medical treatment and other care programs to severely addicted students.
The survey showed 175,496 students were addicted to the internet, while the number for smartphones was 136,538. A total of 83,914 were found to be overly dependent on both.
By age, 84,462 (37 percent) of those with overdependence were first graders of middle schools, followed by first graders of high schools with 77,884 (34.1 percent) and fourth graders of elementary schools with 65,774 (28.8 percent).
By gender, boys (116,731) outnumbered girls (111,389) overall in the category. But among the middle and high school students, more females than males were included in the vulnerable group.