Many Hongkongers feel that instant messaging apps have contributed to a rise in extramarital affairs among locals, according to a survey.
In a survey conducted by the Caritas Family Crisis Support Centre, 30 percent of the respondents admitted to having relationships outside marriage, while half the respondents said they know of friends or relatives who have had affairs, Apple Daily reported.
Instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Line have made it easier for people to conduct extramarital affairs, the survey showed, although many people also said that they found out about their partners’ infidelity by checking the phone messages.
Given the growing popularity of mobile messaging apps, more people are likely to cheat on their partners using tools like WhatsApp, according to the survey.
Caritas interviewed 1,441 people over more than two years for its survey. Of the respondents, 454 people admitted to having affairs.
The survey found out that 30 percent of the cases involved affairs with colleagues, while 32 percent involved affairs with friends.
Marcus Chiu, associate professor at the National University of Singapore, noted that the widespread use of instant messaging tools has enabled people to remain in close contact with colleagues and friends even after work.
Meanwhile, messages between husbands and wives were mostly humdrum, dealing with aspects of their daily lives.
Chiu pointed out that people can develop affection when they communicate online, as photos can be retouched before posting and online chats were usually full of compliments, leading to more interactions.
The survey found that over 80 percent of people who sought counseling in relation to an extramarital affair were females. People in the age groups of 31-40 and 41-50 are exposed to the highest risks of having an affair.
Paulina Kwok, a supervisor at Caritas Family Crisis Support Centre, said the government should enhance pre-marriage education and launch some initiatives like Singapore to urge people to “go home early for dinner”.
Kwok also called on married people not to get carried away by the online world.
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