A government survey showed Friday that over 15 percent of South Korean elementary and middle schoolers are addicted to either the internet or smartphones.
According to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, the survey polled a total of 1.29 million students -- fourth graders, seventh graders and 10th graders -- in March and April.
The results indicated that some 196,337 schoolchildren, or 15.2 percent, refuse to put down their phones or stop going on the internet, an increase from 14.3 percent last year. Of those surveyed, 64,924 students showed excessive dependency on both the internet and smartphones.
The study further showed that the number of fourth-graders and girls addicted to digital technology increased most compared to last year.
As new online games and YouTube video content are introduced daily, more girls are using smartphones or the internet, the ministry said.
The government said it plans to expand an experiential learning program on healthy digital media use and enforce a stricter regulation of media use at kindergarten and day care centers.
By Catherine Chung (email@example.com