Objectives: The objective of this study was to assess the characteristics of smartphone use in elementary school children and the emotional and behavioral problems associated with smartphone overuse and addiction.
Methods: Children referred to a community based pediatric mental health center were screened for smartphone addiction and related problematic behavior using the Smartphone Addiction Proneness Scale and the Korean version of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL).
Results: 1) Statistically significant differences in gender, usage time, ownership, and internalization symptoms (somatization, anxiety/depression, withdrawal) were observed between the smartphone excessive user group and the control group. 2) Variants showing the most significant correlation with smartphone addiction were usage time, internalization problems somatization, anxiety/depression, withdrawal, aggressive behaviors, and total behavior problems.
Conclusion: The results of this study indicated an association of addiction tendency in elementary school children with internalization symptoms. Close observation in the familial and academic setting may be important for children at high risk for smartphone addiction.
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