In Asia smartphone addiction is fast on the rise. A recent study surveyed almost 1,000 students in South Korea, where 72% of children own a smartphone by the age of 11 or 12 and spend on average 5.4 hours a day on them – as a result about 25% of children were considered addicted to smartphones.
Asia and its 2.5bn smartphone users provides a stream of phone-related “mishap news”, such as the Taiwanese tourist who had to be rescued after she walked off a pier while checking Facebook on her phone. Or the woman from China’s Sichuan province rescued by fire fighters after falling into a drain while looking at her phone.
In Singapore too the concern is that those most vulnerable are getting younger. With its population of just 6 million, it has one of the world’s highest smartphone penetration rates. Youths lack that level of maturity, making it harder for them to manage smartphone usage as they don’t have self-control.
Several countries have started imposing regulations on smartphone usage. China, one of the first countries to label internet addictions as clinical disorders, set up military-style clinics to stamp out new media addictions.
According to the survey conducted by global software security group Kaspersky Lab, most of us nowadays do not think about recalling information using our memory and resort to search engines looking for quick answers. Many users in the survey were so dependent on their devices that they were worried at the thought of losing them. Nearly 91 per cent of the people said they use internet as an online extension of their brain. Almost half of them said their smartphone serves as their memory. Many adults could not remember important phone numbers of family members and friends. The survey also showed that people are not doing much to protect their information online.