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They lose their minds because of the cell phone



They lose their minds because of the cell phone


Seoul – In the bathroom, on the pillow, among the school desks: the mobile phone, in South Korea, has become an inseparable companion for million of people . Mobile telephony has become so insinuated into the social dynamics of the Korean republic that the government has had to commission a ‘ scientific investigation to understand the psychological effects of this unusual and rampant technological invasion.

The results are impressive: a third of adolescents between 14 and 19 years, equivalent to 20% of the telephone market, feel uncomfortable when they do not have a terminal in their hands. Four out of ten guys ship up to one thousand SMS per month , while the national average is around 45 messages per day per capita. 40% of young people use their phone to play every day, even spending whole afternoons in front of the small screen of a mobile phone.

Choi Byeong-mok, scientist at the Far East University of Chungcheong and director of this research, has no doubts about the results of the study: he is convinced that South Korea has reached a level of technological saturation particularly risky, capable of upsetting the psychosocial balance of the population.

“Teens use their cell phones in very tight regimes and often can’t take their eyes off keyboards,” Choi said in an interview with the Joong Ang Daily. “Some of them send up to 400 messages a day, most of which, especially in the eyes of adults, may seem nonsense.” Has the ubiquitous communication tool of the digital age become a mirror of the soul? “Using the mobile phone to send messages has become a way to demonstrate one’s presence, one’s affection, even if the sender and recipient are distant”, concludes the researcher.

A double-edged sword: the data collected by Choi made it possible to record the existence of various layers of the population afflicted by psychiatric pathologies attributable to the uncontrollable spread of cell phones, which have risen from simple status symbols to the foundation of individual psychological identity.

Among the ailments caused by the abuse of mobile phones are: mental distress, anxiety and even hallucinations. The South Korean series contains alarming episodes, such as that of a young 15-year-old girl who, despite having turned off the phone, continues to hear the ringtone constantly. Others, as psychiatrist Chung Chan-ho, director of a clinic specializing in adolescent care, suggests, “suffer from real addictions to technology.”

The government study is clear: 30% of young people he suffers from confusion and transient depression whenever he cannot use a cell phone. “Addiction can negatively affect school performance”, given that the use of mobile phones seems to be a very popular diversion to combat the tedium of school desks.

Tommaso Lombardi