September 13, 2021 08:41
Young Koreans are reduced to finding friends and lovers online as lockdown continues to blight their social lives.
They even imagine they are becoming friends with K-pop stars. One mobile app letting fans exchange messages with their idols has racked up 1 million subscribers since launching in February last year.
Users just have to pay W4,500 a month (US$1=W1,167). They testify that the service makes them feel as if they are really talking privately to their beloved stars.
But most social apps are simply about meeting one's peers. One 17-year-old high school student from Guri, Gyeonggi Province signed up for a fan community in September of last year supporting boy bands NU'EST and Seventeen.
"I'm often bored having to talk about subjects that don't interest me when I'm with friends in the real world, but online I can talk to people who share my interests."
Kim Yun-tae at Korea University, said, "The coronavirus pandemic has increased social isolation and raised the cost of maintaining human relationships."
Offline meetings or gatherings have been on the decline since the outbreak of the pandemic. In a recent survey of some 602 singles conducted by the Korea Development Institute, 78.1 percent of the respondents said they have had no a chance to date anybody since February last year.
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