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Chinese increasingly dependent on smartphones

(People's Daily Online)

15:27, October 22, 2012

An old man in Qingdao, Shandong province, angrily threw the dishes on the ground and left the dining table because his children and grandchildren were too focused on their cell phones during a meal. This incident has aroused heated discussion among Chinese netizens, who generally believe that smartphone addiction has adverse impact on people's personal lives and social interaction.

A foreign survey has echoed this Chinese family incident. ATNS Sofres survey of 1,000 French households each with a child aged between 10 and 15 showed that if the child had a smartphone, the possibility of a family quarrel would rise to 69 percent.

It is not just the dining table. Smartphones have penetrated into every aspect of our lives. According to a recent poll on smartphone obsession, many respondents said they were obsessed with their smartphone, and would unconsciously play with the phone every few minutes.

Smartphones are quickly gaining popularity in China. The country's smartphone shipments grew over 183 percent from last year to 172 million units in the first nine months this year, with smartphones accounting for over 51 percent of its cell phone market, according to statistics from the China Academy of Telecommunication Research under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

Doctors believe that some modern people, especially young people, are addicted to smartphones mainly because of heavy life stress and insufficient spiritual resources.

"When people are under heavy pressure and do not have healthy habits to ease their pressure, they may turn to cell phones because cell phones can be used almost anywhere anytime to kill time and help people forget their troubles temporarily," said Yu Jiafan, a chief physician at Hangzhou Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine. This wrong way of easing pressure will not only make people addicted to smartphones, but also arouse a deeper feeling of emptiness.

Ma Meiying, a teacher at Zhejiang University's Department of Sociology, said that smartphones may have a stronger adverse impact on people with low self-control than computers because these people may become more severely addicted to the virtual world.

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