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How often do people spy on their partners?

Changing dating rules

The idea of digital privacy is coming to seem positively quaint as hackers track our keyboard strokes, malware filches our personal financial data and state-sponsored snoops foreign and domestic thumb through oceans of metadata in search of kompromat. But perhaps the greatest threat, it turns out, has a more familiar face.

Some 37 percents of millennials read their romantic partners' email messages, texts and social media feeds at least once a week without their permission, a recent YouGov analysis found. Nearly a quarter of them spy on their significant others every day.

Middle-aged people aren't immune to the temptations of peeping. Some 25 percent of adults ages 25-to-54 regularly peruse their partners' digital correspondence. Older folks, perhaps more accustomed to analog ways of invading their mates' privacy, are somewhat less likely to pry. 


Such stats raise an obvious question: Is tech making us more suspicious in love, or is it merely providing more powerful tools for acting on the kind of age-old suspicions that can infest the human heart? Conversely, is the internet making us meaner, as "cyberbullying" becomes the subject of national debate, or does it simply provide a 5G platform for exercising our baser impulses?

These issues are unlikely to get untangled anytime soon. What's clear, by contrast, is that people seem to feel increasingly comfortable using technology to mediate their closest relationships, whether parsing the emotional nuances of a 140-character tweet or -- simpler yet, sometimes -- just calling it quits.

After all, the YouGov survey found that millennials are also more likely to employ tech to break up with someone. The preferred brush-off platform? Text, with a third of 18-to-34-year-olds reporting they've experienced a break-up using the medium. 

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