Asia is the birthplace of the selfie stick and emojis, so it is no surprise they are the forerunners in increased mobile addiction and usage. For example, in Singapore smartphones have been integrated into the school curriculum and homework is sometimes issued via WhatsApp. In Japan, they have formed a subculture called keitai culture, meaning mobile phone culture. The new Instagram trends of food porn has led to this increasing new culture encouraging addiction.
They have likened smartphone usage to mental disorders and related it to drug addiction. A psychiatrist Thomas Lee has stated that “like drug addicts, smartphone addicts will also display withdrawal symptoms like restlessness, anxiety and even anger”. This is what these countries are trying to combat with their regulations and policies.
In South Korea, they released a government app to monitor usage among teenagers and imposed restrictions of using online games after midnight. A study conducted in 2015 in South Korea found that 25% of children aged between 11 and 12 where addicted to smartphones and spend on average 5.4 hours on them daily.
China has found a way to combat this addiction with a boot camp. This camp is for young Chinese people who are about to begin college and university and is for them to discipline themselves and fix their mobile habits. Challenges such as holding their phone between their teeth and psychical military exercises are some of the activities conducted at the camp.
Should Australia be following similar lines and employing tactics to control mobile usages?
Question we should be asking ourselves are:
- Is this mobile addiction getting out of hand?
- Are these methods too intense and extreme or what we need?
- Is it becoming a a mental heath disorder and an anxiety similar to drug addiction?
- Is mobile addiction just the new way of living and we should get with the times?
x BL x