South Korea's youth's love for smartphones has gone bordering addiction. The federal government is poised to introduce nationwide counseling programs for youngsters by the end of the year to curb the rising technology-related affliction.
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, South Korea's youth manifest signs of anxiety, insomnia and depression when their smartphones are extracted from them either by force or even by self-will.
The country's smartphone penetration rate among children ages 6 to 19, according to figures released by the Korea Communications Commission, had tripled in 2012 to 65 per cent from a year ago.
And compared with the adults' addiction rate of 9.1 per cent, the rate of smartphone addiction rate among teens was doubly higher at 18 per cent.
"The situation is already serious," Hwang Tae-hee, an official at South Korea's Ministry of Gender Equality & Family.
Apart from anxiety, insomnia and depression, spending more than seven hours a day using the device is classified as smartphone addiction.
"Students today are very bad at reading facial expressions," Setsuko Tamura, a professor from Tokyo Seitoku University, told WSJ. "When you spend more time texting people instead of talking to them, you don't learn how to read nonverbal language."
The nationwide counseling programs for youngsters will likewise train teachers on how to deal with students with addiction.
South Korea's technology-related smartphone-addiction may come as no surprise since it is the bailiwick of Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest smartphone maker and rival to Apple Inc.
Moreover, Koreans are some of the world's first adopters of new digital devices, including high-speed Internet and advanced mobile technology.
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