Text message snoop? Study says beware

SYDNEY Thu Aug 28, 2008 4:23am EDT

A customer sends a text message from her phone in a mobile phone shop in Jakarta June 18, 2008. REUTERS/Crack Palinggi

A customer sends a text message from her phone in a mobile phone shop in Jakarta June 18, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Crack Palinggi

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Can't help checking your partner's text messages on the sly? You're not alone, with an Australian survey showing one in three mobile phone users are text message snoops, and the consequences can often be heart-breaking.

The online survey, conducted for telecoms service provider Virgin Mobile Australia, shows that women are more likely than men to check their partner's phone in secret.

It also revealed that 73 percent of these sneaky text checkers have found out things they later wished they hadn't, and 10 percent ended their relationship because of SMS snooping.

"In a society when we very rarely let our mobile phones out of our sight, it's quite amazing to think that for a lot of us the minute we jump in the shower, someone might be checking up on us," Virgin Mobile's Amber Morris said in a statement.

Slightly more than 500 mobile phone users in Australia aged between 18 and 29 were polled by a market research firm in July.

The survey found that 60 percent spy on text messages when their partner is in the shower, while just over 41 percent do it when they are in the same room.

Nearly 45 percent said they had discovered flirtatious or sexual texts, ranging from the harmless to the graphic.

"With so many modes of communication available these days, it's difficult to keep track of your partner's whereabouts or who they're chatting to and when," Virgin Mobile quoted author and relationship expert Samantha Brett as saying.

"Flirting is age old, but the fact that it can now be tracked on your phone makes a nervous partner a paranoid text-checker."

Brett advised SMS snoops to stop. "If you suspect that your partner is up to something, talk about it. Text checking can turn into a vicious cycle, and it can easily be avoided," she added.

(Writing by Miral Fahmy; Editing by Paul Tait)