[OP-ED] South Korean Teens Are Going to Detox Center Because of Their Smartphone Addiction

Jay Yim, Oct. 21, 2019, 5:41 p.m.

Smart phones have and are still taking up huge chunks of time in the lives of people all over the world. But teens are probably the ones that are most addicted, and in many ways negatively affects their social, and personal lives.

There has not been a day that has gone by that I haven't seen a teen on their phones. A lot of them use their phones while they eat with their family. The worst part of it is, the parents don't say anything, or just go on their phones as well. The young generation, or Milennials, have grown up with smart phones, so it's pretty much all they know. Their smartphones pretty much dictate their lives.

It turns out teens in South Korea are either voluntarily, or being sent, to detox centers for their excessive smart phone usage. The detox camps are designed for teens who excessively use their phones and either realize it and want to stop, or parents send them to make their kids learn.

Aside for the $84 fee for food, the camps are free. They are separated into genders, and each camp caters to around 25 students. Once there, the teens are encourage to to scavenger hunts, arts and crafts activities, and sports events. There is also mandatory one-on-one, group and family counseling sessions the teens have to attend to discuss their smartphone usage. Then they are required to meditate 30 minutes before they sleep.

In 2018, more than 98% of South Korean teens used a smartphone, and obviously, showed signs of addiction. I wouldn't be surprised if the numbers haven't changed. In addition to those numbers, around 30% of South Korean children aged 10 to 19 were classed as "overdependant" on their phones.

However, you also can't blame the children altogether. In South Korea, academics are of major importance in South Korean society, so many teens find themselves wanting to destress. In 2015, only 46.3% of 15-year-old South Korea students were reported exercising or practicing sports before or after school, which is the lowest percentage of all 36 OECD countries.

It is obvious that teens have the most issue with smartphones, but let us not downplay that everyone all around the world, of all ages, have issues getting off their smartphones. It's just with teens, they are more drawn and addicted to smartphones because that's all they know; they grew up with it.

A lot of teens suffer from bad grades because of their smartphones. They also develop bad relationships with their family because they spend every waking hour with their phones. Some even fail to make friends, or possibly meet the wrong type of friends.

All things considered, these detox centers in South Korea seem like a really good idea. Maybe if other countries adopted this system into their country, the percentage of teens addicted to their smartphones could significantly decrease. It would encourage teens to find other ways to cope with their stress and still do well in school, pursue their dreams, and socialize with friends and family.

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