Been a bit out of writing much to the blog lately — 3 or more days seems to be “out of it” for me these days. Nevertheless, I’ve had some thoughts I finally get to write with my hour or two of free time this week.
Yesterday, I had a thought about what I’ve witnessed from the beginning here in Korea. In the U.S., I never found sending text messages too convenient nor easy. The alphabet typed with 9 or so keys was just a bit more tedious than typing at my 100 words per minute or so that I’m normally used to. However, after I got here and watching Koreans rarely using voicemail when calling people and just sending text messages as an alternative or sometimes in more frequency than even calling, I thought “this is interesting.”
You can see it daily. Teenagers can text message people (having a need to reduce costs and sending text messages instead of calling because they are .40 cents or about 40 won per message vs. 40 won a minute) faster than some can even type. You see young cell phone (or they call it “hand phone”) users one handing text messages to one another. I am definitely jealous to say the least. However, I did get better at messaging in Korean when sending messages to my Korean friends. The only problem is when you switch over to different phones (as I recently did), it is a bit difficult to adjust to the new “touch pad” since there isn’t just one standard of numbers and characters in Korea (on cell phones).
On this note, I just did a search on google for “text messages in Korea” and get this following article:
Korean Children ‘Obsessed’ with Text Messaging
Kim Hyun-suk is a sophomore in high school and a so-called thumb jockey: he is constantly sending text messages to friends regardless of time and place. Hyun-suk sends so many text messages that it broke the buttons on his phone and gave him carpal tunnel syndrome — the painful swelling and inflammation of the fingers and wrists associated with excessive typing that increasingly affects excessive users of mobile phones.
According to figures released by the National Statistical Office on Wednesday, teenagers between 15 and 19 on average sent a whopping 60.1 text messages per day, a slight increase from 59.5 in 2005. “Our children are seriously addicted to cell phones,” an official with the civic group Parent’s Union on Net said. Some 46 percent of middle and high school students send text messages even in class, according to research by the Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity & Promotion.
Young adults aged between 20 and 24 also send more text messages, with the average number of SMS increasing from 22.6 in 2005 to 30.9 in 2006. The ratio of cell phone users is 85.3 percent for teenagers and 97.3 percent for young adults. According to the NSO figures, teenagers used computers for 14 hours per week and young adults for 19.3 hours. Although the figure decreased by 1.5 hours and 1.3 hours respectively from 2005, they still spend more than two hours a day on the computer.
Teenagers watch TV for 12.8 hours a week and young adults for 13.8 hours. The average time for reading newspapers was 0.7 and 1.3 hours.
Children who spend too much time on the phone, computer and TV often become isolated from their family. Among teenagers, 60.8 percent said they are satisfied with their relationship with parents, a drop from 67.8 percent in 2002. When it comes to relationship with siblings, satisfaction shrank from 64.7 percent in 2002 to 59.2 percent in 2006.
It took on average one year for young people between 15 and 29 to land a job after graduation or dropping out of school, up from 10 months in 2005. The proportion of young people who did not land a job until three years later stood at 10.2 percent, up from 8.4 two years ago, meaning one out of 10 young people has been unemployed for three years or more. The proportion of young people who found a job within one year after graduation decreased by 2.7 percentage points since 2005 to 74.2 percent.