Asia’s Growing Addiction to Smartphones

Are you afflicted with nomophobia? Nomophobia is mobile phone phobia or the severe anxiety experienced by an individual over the loss of access to a smartphone. According to experts, Asia has the fastest growing addiction to smartphones and the addicts are getting younger and younger. Take note that Asia is the birthplace of selfie sticks and emoji.

In recent survey of 1,000 students in South Korea, 25% of children were found out to be addicted to their mobile phones. 72% of children by the age of 11 or 12 already own a smartphone and spends about 5.4 hours on the device every day.

Asia has 2.5 billion smartphone users. Asia is also the source of two mobile phone-related incidents that include the Taiwanese tourist who had to be rescued because she fell off from the pier while checking Facebook on her phone and the woman from Sichuan province who was rescued by firefighters after falling into a drain while looking for her smartphone.

The concern is not actually the headlines but the fact that mobile phone addiction is getting younger and so does vulnerability. Take the case of Singapore that has 6 million in population. This nation has the largest smartphone penetration rates. The youth in particular lack the self-control to manage their smartphone usage so that there are concerns over how children will behave when they get their own phones.

In South Korea, 19-year old student has been undergoing nomophobia treatment since April 2013. Her phone became her world and an extension of her being. If she can’t find her phone, her palms start to get sweaty and her heart would race. Behavioral problems started to be amplified that she retreated from hobbies and school activities.

Many people recognize this problem because they themselves feel the anxiety when the mobile phone is not in their pockets. South Korea has also found out that people who use social media are most likely to become addicted. In Asian societies, the smartphone allows students to connect with friends and share news and humor. Vulnerable children and adults feel adrift when they are unable to connect to others. The phone also becomes the focus of problems and anxieties.

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