More young children are reporting Web addiction

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More young children are reporting Web addiction

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It has been reported that Internet addiction is more prevalent in children aged between 5 and 9 than it is in adults. According to the Ministry of Public Administration and Security and the National Information Society Agency yesterday, 7.9 percent of children in this age group were considered Internet addicts, higher than the rate in adults, which was 6.8 percent.

For teenagers, the rate was lower than last year, but still ranked the highest among all age groups.

The two organizations said they surveyed 10,000 people aged between 5 and 49 throughout the country to study the actual conditions of Internet addiction in 2011.

The questionnaire asked respondents 15 questions about the nature of their Internet usage to determine whether or not they were dependent on the Web.

The average rate of Internet addiction was 7.7 percent last year, down by 0.3 percent in 2010.

According to the survey results, Internet addiction in teenagers was the highest among all surveyed age groups with 10.4 percent, however, it decreased by 2 percent compared to the previous year.

Among teenagers, high school students ranked the highest with 12.4 percent. High school students also have the highest risk of becoming addicted to the Internet.

Teenagers from lower income brackets with less than 2 million won ($1,787) per month in monthly family income and teenagers from multicultural families were more addicted to the Internet, accounting for 13 percent and 14.2 percent, respectively. Children from one-parent families also showed a high addiction rate with 10.5 percent.

The Ministry of Public Administration and Security and the National Information Society Agency have been conducting the survey annually but said it was the first time to survey children aged between 5 and 9.

More males were addicted to the Internet than females, accounting for 9.1 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively. Males are also more at risk to become Internet addicts than females.

Those with ordinary Internet habits use the Web to read news, accounting for 43 percent of their usage, or for Web surfing, accounting for 36.2 percent.

However, 41.3 percent of Internet addicts used the Web to play online games, followed by Web surfing with 37.7 percent.

Ordinary Internet users went online for an average of 1.9 hours a day. Those who responded that they felt addicted averaged 2.7 hours a day.

For smartphone addiction rate, teenagers again ranked the highest with 11.4 percent, followed by people in their 20s with 10.4 percent. Average rate was 8.4 percent. About 10.1 percent of smartphone users said they were excessively logging on to social network services.

In order to effectively tackle Internet addiction, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security said it will conduct regular Internet preventive education programs for children, students and workers.


By Yim Seung-hye [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

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