Teenagers addicted to smartphones have a higher chance of falling prey to cyberbullying, data showed Tuesday.
According to a 2013 survey by the Seoul Metropolitan Government of 4,998 students aged 10-17, a fifth of teenagers are smartphone addicts, with 2.9 percent of them categorized as “high-risk.”
The data showed that the more addicted students were, the more likely they were to get involved in online bullying.
Among the high-risk group, 9.1 percent responded that they had been victims of cyberbullying while 14.7 percent said they had been a bully.
The proportion suffering from bullying was three times higher than among those who were not addicts, and the rate at which addicted students carried out bullying was six times higher than non-addicts.
When broken down by method, 59 percent of the bullies answered they verbally attacked or made others feel isolated using messenger services like Kakao Talk. More than 43 percent of the respondents said they became “involved by chance.”
“Cyberspace has greater impact on personal relationships for kids than grown-ups think,” Lee Jung-gook, a psychiatrist at Sungmomaum Center said.
The findings also linked smartphone addiction to decreased productivity and life satisfaction at work and home.
About 20 percent and 21 percent of the high-risk group said they were unsatisfied with their school and home lives, respectively. The respective figures for their non-addict counterparts are 7.1 percent and 4.9 percent.
“We will keep up cyberbullying prevention campaigns, such as consultation programs, to keep a close watch on teenagers’ smartphone use,” Lee Hoi-seung, the city government official, said.
South Korea is known for its high smartphone penetration rate with 35.9 million people, nearly of 73 percent of the country’s 48.9 million population, using smartphones.
By Suk Gee-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)