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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: Men, Women and Smart Phone Addiction in South Korea

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Samsung is launching a new line of smart phones this week. It’s the latest news from the company since the safety problems and product recall of its Galaxy Note 7 model. Elsewhere in South Korea, the use of smart phones is the topic of a new study. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

There may be no other country on earth that studies smart phones as much as South Korea.  And that makes some sense.

The latest research on global smart phone use by the Pew Research Center shows 88% of the population in South Korea owns a smart phone.  That’s the highest rate in the world---the United States comes in at number four with 72% of the population owning a smart phone.  South Korean companies, government agencies and other institutions often announce their own research findings about various aspects of smart phone use—including so-called smart phone addiction.

That phrase carries its own controversy—including defining exactly what it means.  A study by St. Mary’s Hospital in Seoul surveyed about 5-thousand people between the ages of 19 and 49 about their smart phone use.  The hospital asked questions such as whether people’s performances at work or school declined because of excessive smart phone use.

The results found that about 18% of women surveyed had addictive relationships with their smart phones…compared to a little more than 9% for men.  A previous survey by a government agency found one in four South Koreans in middle school and high school are at risk of smart phone addiction…a condition it defined as experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they were deprived of a smart phone.

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