Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Smartphone Addiction and Application Usage in Korean Adolescents: Effects of Mediation Strategies

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Smartphone Addiction and Application Usage in Korean Adolescents: Effects of Mediation Strategies

Article excerpt

Young people's excessive use of smartphones and the associated negative consequences have become a matter of public concern across many countries. According to a survey conducted by the National Information Society Agency (NIA), the percentage of Korean adolescents addicted to smartphones has increased each year since 2010: 11.4% in 2011, 18.4% in 2012, 25.5% in 2013, and 29.2% in 2014 (NIA, 2015). The focus in most of the existing research regarding smartphone addiction among adolescents has been on the causes of addiction, such as psychological traits or social stress (e.g., Bian & Leung, 2015; van Deursen, Bolle, Hegner, & Kommers, 2015), and its negative consequences on academic performance or life satisfaction (e.g., Samaha & Hawi, 2016; Yu, 2013). However, little is known about whether or not mediation strategies aimed at preventing and reducing adolescent smartphone addiction are effective. Thus, our purpose with this study was to identify effective mediation techniques to prevent adolescent smartphone addiction.

Smartphone Addiction and Application Usage

Addiction is defined as "a syndrome in which a reward-seeking behavior has become out of control" (West, 2006, p. 10). Internet addiction and smartphone addiction have similar psychological and behavioral symptoms to other addictions, such as addiction to alcohol. The common symptoms are loss of control, preoccupation, withdrawal, orientation toward cyberspace to manage moods, and conflict or negative consequences (Kuss, van Rooij, Shorter, Griffiths, & van de Mheen, 2013; Widyanto, Griffiths, & Brunsden, 2011; Young, 1998). In South Korea, the NIA has developed the Korean Scale for Internet addiction (K-Scale) and the Smartphone Scale for smartphone addiction (S-Scale), which are both composed of items designed to measure four types of symptoms: orientation toward cyberspace, loss of control, withdrawal, and negative consequences (NIA, 2012). However, Internet and smartphone addiction are not substance addictions; they are behavioral addictions (van Deursen et al., 2015) that are related to the way people use the Internet and smartphones. Previous researchers have focused on the use of applications (apps) on social networking sites (SNS) in regard to smartphone addiction. For example, Jeong and colleagues (2016) showed that use of SNS apps was related to smartphone addiction more than was use of game apps. Given the lack of comprehensive research to investigate usage of smartphone apps in relation to addiction, we posed the following research question:

Research Question 1: What kind of application usage exacerbates adolescents' addiction to smartphones?

Mediation Strategies

Parental mediation refers to practices for guiding children's media use and minimizing negative consequences from media use (Lee & Jeon, 2010; Nathanson, 2001). Researchers have classified parental mediation into active mediation (i.e., parent-child discussion about media message), coviewing or co-using (i.e., parent and child watching television or using media together), and restrictive mediation (i.e., limiting the amount of time and certain content accessed by the child; Nathanson, 2001). Researchers (e.g. Kalmus, Blinka, & Ólafsson, 2013; Lee & Jeon, 2010; Nathanson, 2001) have examined predictors and effects of each mediation technique across diverse media. So far, however, there have been very few studies conducted on the effects of parental mediation on their children's smartphone use. On the basis of the findings reported in previous studies on parental mediation in relation to watching television and using the Internet, we assumed the effects of parental mediation on their children's smartphone addiction would be as follows: First, active parental mediation may reduce their child's addiction because active mediation can make the child recognize the negative consequences of digital media use, develop the child's media literacy, and cultivate the child's self-regulation (Kalmus et al. …

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