Women more vulnerable to smartphone addiction than men

London, May 30: More than half the women who participated in a study conducted a few years ago in Korea were found to be on their smartphones for four hours a day or longer and showed far higher risks of addiction to their smartphones than men.

Professor Chang Jae-yeon of Ajou University said Friday his report was based on a survey of 1,236 students at six colleges in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, in July-August 2013. It was the first academic study that found one sex is more prone to succumb to smartphone addiction than the other.

It found 52 percent of the women in the survey use their smartphones for four hours a day or longer, far higher than the comparable ratio of 29.4 percent among men. The ratios of respondents who use smartphones for six hours a day were also 22.9 percent for women, and 10.8 percent for men.

Women use smarphones mainly for social networking services, including Facebook and Instagram, using these services far more than just making calls, games and searches combined. Unlike men who use their smartphones mainly during their break times, women, exactly 37.2 percent of them, look at their phone screens while talking with others and on the move, the report said.

One in five women, or 20.1 percent, said they have insecure feelings beyond normal when they cannot use their smartphones. Only 8.9 percent of the men felt so. Women’s dependency on smartphones was 10 percent higher than men’s. This contrasted to the widely-accepted opinion that men are more vulnerable to addictions of such substances and activities as alcohol, computer games and gambling.

Based on the survey results, the researchers concluded that for many women, their addiction to their smartphones has gone beyond simple hobbies to have reached a stage adversely affecting their mental health. Women’s desires for networking and communication are far stronger than men’s, which drive them to become more dependent on SNS via their smartphones, it reported.

“We expect adolescents are likely to show similar results,” Professor Chang said. “Female users are advised to consciously put their phones out of their reach from time to time.” The study was published in the May-June issue of Public Health Reports of the U.S. Public Health Service.