Education About Asia: Online Archives

Mobile Phones, Young People, and South Korean Culture

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By Kyongwon Yoon

Today, almost everyone in the streets of Seoul carries a mobile phone, and many people in the subway or on the bus are speaking on it or texting. The rapid proliferation of mobile phones offers a fascinating case for understanding the contemporary culture of South Korean young people (Korea hereafter). As of 2005, ninety percent of young Koreans between the ages of fourteen and nineteen had a mobile phone and 38.2 percent of young users sent more than one thousand text messages per month.1 For young Koreans, the mobile phone has become metaphorically a part of the body, rather than a form of media technology to be used only when necessary.