updated 4 Feb 2012, 03:13
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Sat, Feb 04, 2012
The Korea Herald/ANN
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Smartphones: Bad for your relationship?
by Lee Woo-young

SMARTPHONES, with more than 10 million users in South Korea, are changing the dating culture of people in their 20s and 30s, a survey conducted by marriage consulting agency Duo showed.

Duo asked 294 unmarried people aged between 20 and 39 years old how smartphones affected their relationship with their boyfriend or girlfriend.

A whopping 79.6 per cent of those surveyed said smartphones affected their relationship in some way.

The three best advantages of smartphones for their relationships listed were: saving on phone bills by using free texting services, at 41.5 per cent; greater accessibility to information on dating places such as restaurants, at 29.7 per cent; exchanging messages whenever and wherever, at 20.8 per cent.

Free texting services or phone calls definitely save phone fees and make it easier for young couples to exchange messages or make calls, said 25-year-old college student Choi Seung-jae.

Dating has become convenient as information on good restaurants and to discount coupons becomes more accessible, said 27-year-old office worker Lee Bo-ram.

However, smartphones can cause problems in relationships as well.

Of those surveyed, 37.7 per cent said that face-to face contact, hugs and kisses decreased; 30.7 per cent said interruptions became more frequent; and 16.5 per cent said the number of online rather than traditional dates increased.

It makes me bored and annoyed when my boyfriend keeps staring at his smartphone when we are on a date, said 27-year-old office worker Han Hyung-young.

About half of those surveyed said they had had fights with their boyfriend or girlfriend because of smartphones.

Twitter or Facebook was the main offender for 44.5 per cent of respondents. About 32.8 per cent had fights when their boyfriend or girlfriend became obsessed with their smartphone, and 14.1 per cent said spending money on applications and mobile accessories was the reason for fights.

About 4.7 per cent had had a fight over their boyfriend or girlfriend stalking their ex.

It is possible that your girlfriend can find out what you have been doing by reading your posts on Twitter or Facebook which you definitely don't want her to know, said 30-year-old office worker Choi Hee-jung.

"I've heard that a couple got in trouble when a girlfriend found out her boyfriend was flirting with girls on Who's Here."

Who's Here is an application which enables you to make contact with people nearby.

We need to think about what's missing in our daily lives flooded with communications whether we are neglecting our loved ones, said a source at Duo.

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