SEOUL, Nov. 7 (Korea Bizwire) — A recent study has revealed that 6 out of 10 South Korean children under the age of 6 use smartphones, and the age at which children start using smartphones is steadily decreasing.
The Barun ICT Research Center at Yonsei University conducted a study on 602 participants with children between 12 months and 6 years of age, 59.3 percent of whom said that their child uses a smartphone.
Among the respondents, 45.1 percent said that their child began using a smartphone between the age of 12 months and 24 months, while 20.2 percent said between 24 months and 36 months and 15.1 percent said between 36 months and 48 months. Another 7.8 percent said that their child began using a smartphone before reaching 12 months of age.
The center also said that children born later began using smartphones at an earlier age.
Among toddlers using smartphones, 9.8 percent were exposed to potential dangers of addiction, while 2.7 percent were under severe threat of becoming over reliant on the device.
The center used the Smartphone Overdependence Standard designed by National Information Society Agency to assess the child’s level of reliance on smartphones. This standard includes three categories including Salience — how smartphones become the most important activity in one’s daily life; Control Failure – how the user fails to control his or her use of smartphones; and Problematic Consequences — how the user continues to rely on smartphones despite physical, psychological, and social consequences. Out of total of 36 points, 28 points or above is classified as severe, 24 to 27 points as potential danger, and 23 points or below as normal.
Even if the parents were classified as severely over reliant, 46.7 percent of them did not allow their children to use smartphones. If the parents were potentially over reliant, the same metric was 41.7 percent. Only 40.1 percent of ‘normal’ parents did not let their kids use smartphones.
As for the reasons why parents did not wish to let their children use smartphones, 25.4 percent said they were worried about smartphone addiction, 20.5 percent said their child was too young, and 19.5 percent were concerned about the negative impact it could have on their child’s social and cognitive ability. Another 12.9 percent were worried about exposure to harmful content.
“This shows that parents’ will and intent, rather than their level of reliance on smartphones, is more important when it comes to their child using a smartphone,” the center said.
The center plans to hold a conference on Thursday at the National Assembly Library to discuss measures to prevent toddlers from becoming heavily reliant on digital content.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)