Txt Me

LONDON, July 24, 2006 (AFP) – Mobile phone text messages are changing the way people approach romantic relationships, according to a survey published Monday in the British newspaper The Times. More than half of mobile phone users aged 18 to 24 have sent or received an invitation to a date via text message, while a similar number have exchanged sexually-explicit messages, the study by the London School of Economics showed.

Just more than half agreed that flirting via text message would be a form of cheating on their partner.

“It acts as a kind of subliminal zone, an exclusive forum where the normal social rules are suspended,” said Kate Fox, director of the Social Issues Research Centre.

“People often say things in texts which they would never say in ‘real life’.”

The survey also found that 54 percent of women under 25 used their mobile phone in public to deter people from approaching them.

British mobile phone users send an average of 3.6 text messages and make 2.8 phone calls a day. Fifty-one percent of the 16,500 respondents sent at least six text messages a day but only 15 percent made six or more mobile phone calls in a day.