Environ Health Toxicol.  2013 ;28(1):e2013019.

Epidemiological Characteristics of Mobile Phone Ownership and Use in Korean Children and Adolescents

  • 1Department of Medical Science, Dankook University College of Medicine, Cheonan, Korea.
  • 2Department of Preventive Medicine, Dankook University College of Medicine, Cheonan, Korea. minaha00@gmail.com
  • 3Environmental Health Center, Dankook Medical Center, Cheonan, Korea.
  • 4Department of Public Health, Graduate School, Dankook University, Cheonan, Korea.
  • 5Asian Citizen's Center for Environment and Health, Seoul, Korea.
  • 6Department of Psychiatry, Dankook University College of Medicine, Cheonan, Korea.
  • 7Radio Technology Research Department, Electronics and Telecommunication Research Institute, Daejeon, Korea.
  • 8School of Information and Communication Engineering, Chungbuk National University College of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Cheongju, Korea.


As public concern on possible harmful effects of mobile phone in children has been raised, information of epidemiological characteristics of mobile phone use in children and adolescents will be essential for public health policy.
Using three databases (n=21,693) collected from 2008 to 2011, we examined characteristics of mobile phone ownership and use, and socioeconomic positions (SEP) in Korean children and adolescents.
The ownership rate and the amount of mobile phone use were higher in females than males, in higher school grades than lower grades, and at 2011 than 2008. The average age of first mobile phone ownership was shown to decrease from 12.5 years in currently high school students to 8.4 years in currently elementary school students at 2011. More than 90% of children in the 5th grade owned a mobile phone. More children owned a mobile phone in lower SEP communities than in higher SEP. Children with parents educated less than those with parents educated more were more likely to own and use mobile phone.
Considering the epidemiological characteristics of mobile phone use, precautionary measures to prevent unnecessary exposure to mobile phones are needed in children and adolescents.


Adolescents; Children; Mobile phone use; Socioeconomic position
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