Checking call histories and following Facebook accounts are the most common ways people spy on their lovers, a recent US study found.
While half of all college students say they've done it or been a victim of it, women are the bigger e-spying culprits, say the researchers from East Carolina University. One in five goes as far as using their partner’s passwords to check up on them. Women are also more likely than men to think they haven’t done anything wrong.
But men are not completely off the hook.
Though fewer males say they spy on their partners, more men than women use hidden cameras and GPS to track down the location of their lovers.
Technology also makes it easier to harass someone. At least 30 per cent of all student had some experiences with unwanted online interactions that had gotten out of hand. That included getting threatening, insulting, or harassing messages or excessive phone calls from someone.
Technology use is 'rampant' among young adults, the researchers say. And mobile phones, text messaging, e-mail and Facebook are making it easier than ever to meet people, get to know someone and to keep the spark going when you can't see each other for a while. But it has also become a lot easier to spy on your lover. Because it’s now so easy, for some people snooping can get obsessive.
How can you tell if your behaviour is going too far? The line between appropriate communication and unwanted spying is not always clear. Things can also change over time.
While it may be completely normal to send someone a ton of WhatsApp messages when you have just met, asking them what they have eaten or who they are with may be considered obsessive at later stages of a relationship.
So where is the line? Chances are that if a behaviour makes you feel uncomfortable, say the researchers, it will have the same effect on your partner.
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