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South Korea to launch state-led efforts against smartphone addiction

The South Korean government on Friday pledged state-led efforts to prevent widespread smartphone addition, as nearly 1 in 5 Koreans surveyed have become “too dependent” on smartphones.

During a meeting with government agencies, the Ministry of Science and ICT announced plans to prevent smartphone addition, including launching a government-led task force with the participation of 11 ministries and 14 agencies.

The project will focus on four areas: education, counseling, communication and social infrastructure. The ministry said it will warn the public about the dangers of such addition and engage people in dealing with the issue. 

“To reduce adverse effect in the digital age, we will develop services for education and counselling,” the ICT Ministry said. “Ultimately, we will create an environment in which every individual can solve the problem and embrace technology.” 

According to data from Statistics Korea last month, about 19 percent of Koreans suffered from overreliance on smartphones in 2018, with symptoms similar to alcohol or gambling addiction.

Teenagers were the most vulnerable to smartphone addiction, with about 30 percent saying they suffered such symptoms. Those in their 60s were the least vulnerable, with 13 percent saying they suffered the symptoms.