Women more likely to be phone addicts
WOMEN are twice as likely to be hooked to mobile devices compared with men, a recent study revealed.
Psychiatrists at Seoul St Mary's Hospital found that 17.9 per cent of women were attached to their smartphones, compared with just 9.4 per cent of men.
Some 2,281 women and 2,573 men from South Korea took part in the study.
"We assume one of the reasons behind the statistics is that women tend to form more social relationships online than men do," said Kim Dae Jin, a psychiatrist who led the study.
Kim Ji Yeon, 25, starts her day by checking her Instagram.
"I usually post something before I go to bed," said Ms Kim, adding that she usually uploads selfies, photos of food she ate and pictures of her dog.
"And it feels nice to wake up in the morning and find out how people responded. It's like my morning ritual."
Ms Kim admits that she is addicted to her smartphone "just as much as everyone else she knows".
One of her biggest anxieties has to do with the battery dying. "It feels like I'm missing out on life when my phone is dead," she noted.
The study also found that depression and a high activity of the behavioural inhibition system (BIS) is related to smartphone addiction among South Koreans.
People who were depressed or had high activity of BIS - meaning they tend to avoid human interaction and conflict to guard against negative emotions such as fear, sadness and anxiety - were more likely to be addicted to smartphones and have a limited social network offline.
The researchers said smartphone addiction is, in some ways, a form of escapism for those who are depressed.
"When one is... experiencing negative emotions, it's natural for him to find a place where they can be free from their fear and anxieties," they wrote in the report.
"The online world gives people anonymity and therefore gives them a chance to be somebody else, and act differently."
The researchers added that this cycle can "be addictive to those who are unhappy with themselves in the offline world".
"You don't get the kind of endorsements you get online in your real life," they explained.
Among those who display high levels of BIS, researchers said interacting online can be less stressful for those who are afraid of human conflicts or difficult relationships.
Ms Kim said she is just as social offline as she is online but avoiding certain people is easier in the virtual world.
"You can easily cut them off by blocking them or deleting your account," she added. "It's both convenient and somewhat sad at the same time."
THE KOREA HERALD/
ASIA NEWS NETWORK