According to Business Korea, about 80% of all Korean students aged 12 to 19 own a smartphone. After conducting an annual survey estimating that at least 20% of teenagers are addicted to the devices, the government is contemplating imposing a curfew on teenage use.
This year, a government survey concluded that 40% of students aged 12 to 19 spend more than three hours a day tweeting, chatting, or playing games on their phones. The survey also showed that one in five students qualify as “addicted,” using their phones seven or more hours a day. The government has called this an “epidemic” and said smartphone addiction may lead to health effects.
Thus, The GlobalPost reports that Korea has even begun to consider placing a curfew on smartphones similar to the video gaming curfew passed in 2011 to prohibit students under the age of fifteen from playing video games from midnight to 5 AM. This decision was reached after surveys showed students’ overwhelming addiction to these games.
As talk of this possibility of a smart phone curfew increases over the web, students have voiced their concern.
“That would be a nightmare,” Peter Kim, a student at Korea International School and the owner of a smartphone, told JSR.
“As a high school student, I’m usually up late every night. My smartphone will often provide the perfect outlet for stress when I’m studying for a test at 3 AM. With this curfew, I wouldn’t be able to use it at all!”
However, some students agree that a limitation must be set.
“My phone isn’t a smartphone, so I tend to just look at it when I need to know the time or need to call someone. But my friends that are smartphone users seem to always be staring at their phones all the time, even when we’re out together,” says Joonki Jin, another student.
“I always wonder how it’s possible for them to be on their phones so frequently,” Jin added. “After I found out about the rates of addiction, I must admit that I wasn’t surprised.”