Prevalence of Internet Addiction and Correlations with Family Factors among South Korean Adolescents
Park, Soo Kyung, Kim, Jae Yop, Cho, Choon Bum, Adolescence
Over the past two decades, the South Korean government has strongly promoted the establishment of a nationwide Internet network. As a result, by 1999 some 22.4% of South Koreans used the Internet and by 2005, Internet use had more than tripled to 71.9% (National Internet Development Agency of Korea, 2006).
In South Korea more adolescents use the Internet than do any other age group. For these youths, the Internet is not only the most common activity of daily life but also a major recreational activity. By 2005, some 97.3% of South Korean adolescents between the ages of 6 and 19 years used the Internet (National Internet Development Agency of Korea, 2006).
Generally, the concept of addiction has been applied to excessive use of the Internet. Young (1999) claimed, "Internet addiction" is a broad term that covers a wide variety of behaviors and impulse control problems. The term adopted in describing this behavior in which some people's involvement can become so intense as to be pathological has varied, including Internet addiction, problematic Internet use, and pathological Internet use (Charlton & Danforth, 2007).
Previous studies have indicated that Internet accessibility is one of the most decisive factors for overuse by college students (Morahan-Martin & Schumacher, 2000; Anderson, 2001; Lin & Tsai, 2002). When access is free and easy, college students tend to be vulnerable to becoming addicted to the Internet (Kandell, 1998). In South Korea, adolescents have easy Internet access, similar to college students, due to the nationwide Internet infrastructure and may be vulnerable to pathological Internet use.
As elsewhere, problems related to Internet overuse in South Korea include addiction, circulation of undesirable content, dissemination of private information, extreme entertainment-oriented use, grammar problems, diminished vision, and lack of sleep (Song, 1999). The addictive aspect of the Internet is of special interest because it can lead to more serious problems such as mental illness, lying, kleptomania, lessened concentration, lower school grades, poor school attendance, dropping out of school, running away from home, and other family crises (Kim & Kim, 2003).
Despite public and private efforts for preventing and resolving this growing problem in South Korea, most adolescents fail to recognize how detrimental excessive Internet use can be to their physical and mental health.
Previous studies have documented that an adolescent's family environment is highly predictive for adolescent Internet addiction (Young, 1999; Nam, 2002). Moreover, a number of studies in South Korea have found family factors that influence Internet addiction among adolescents. Most studies have focused on the relationships between psychological characteristics and Internet addictions (Yun, 1998; Lee, 2000; Song & Lee, 2002; Choi & Han, 2006) or on the relationships between protective factors such as parenting attitude, communication, and cohesion within families and Internet addiction among adolescents (H. W. Kim, 2001; Cho, 2001; Nam, 2002; Hwang, 2000; Kim & Kim, 2003).
On the other hand, there has been little consideration of relationships between exposure to family violence and Internet addiction among South Korean adolescents. However, previous studies indicated that adolescents exposed to family violence tend to seek relief from the associated tension and stress through such risky behaviors as substance abuse or running away (Kim, 1997; Clark, Lesnick, & Hegedus, 1997; Johnson, Whitbeck, & Hoyt, 2005). In addition, Goldberg (1996) borrowed from substance-dependence criteria of the DSM-IV and defined Internet Addiction Disorder as a behavioral addiction that acts as a coping mechanism. In accord with this definition and prior study results, we predicted that adolescents subjected to family violence would be' more likely to overuse the Internet.
Accordingly, after taking the scarce information on factors associated with adolescent Internet addiction into consideration, we conducted an exploratory examination of relations between risk factors (e.g., exposure to family violence) and Internet addiction as well as relations between protective factors such as parenting attitude, family cohesion, and communications and Internet addiction among adolescent in South Korea.
Participants and Procedures
This study included middle and high school students residing in Seoul, the largest metropolitan area in South Korea and the area with the largest concentration of adolescents.
To select the sample, we divided Seoul into four areas and randomly chose one or two schools in each area. We personally visited the schools, explained the purpose of the study, and made clear that participation was voluntary and that answers were confidential. We subsequently distributed surveys to schools that agreed to participate.
The survey was self-administered by students and data were collected in December 2005. Of the 950 returned surveys, 903 were chosen for analyses after 47 were discarded that were improperly completed.
About 69.6% of the subjects were male adolescents, 60.5% were middle school seniors, and the rest (39.5%) were high school students (12.4% freshman, 27.1% juniors). One of four adolescents surveyed (24.9%) said they were of high economic status, 57.9% was of middle …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Prevalence of Internet Addiction and Correlations with Family Factors among South Korean Adolescents. Contributors: Park, Soo Kyung - Author, Kim, Jae Yop - Author, Cho, Choon Bum - Author. Journal title: Adolescence. Volume: 43. Issue: 172 Publication date: Winter 2008. Page number: 895+. © 1999 Libra Publishers, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale Group.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.