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Don’t text ‘beer’ in Korea: Words that trigger teen alerts

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — “Smart Relief” is a mobile app for parental control of Android smartphones. South Korea’s government funded the app, which alerts parents to possible bullying based on its monitoring of phrases and words used in smartphone messages and in online searches. The developer says it can also give parents insight into the worries or preoccupations of their children.

Such apps are criticized in South Korea as an invasion of privacy but their use is burgeoning, particularly after the country’s telecoms regulator ordered monitoring applications be installed on the smartphones of Koreans aged 18 and below. Smart Relief is not one of the 15 apps authorized for use in that program but shares similar features with them.


The app monitors about 800 words and phrases in messages including:

Threat, kill, shut up, violence, destroy, handicap, crazy, prostitute, garbage, thief, porn, suicide, pregnancy, inn, obscene, sex, sexual crime, sexual relationship, prostitution, motel, beer, rape, adultery, run away from home, outcast.


It monitors about 300 words and phrases in online searches including:

Girl I like, boy I like, dating, boyfriend, girlfriend, breakup, invisible person, don’t have friends, jealousy, lonely, stress, don’t want to live, loser, complaint, help, worry, breast, plastic surgery, appearance, fat, french kiss, porn, menstruation, adoption, divorce, rape, homosexual love, single parent, IS, terrorism, poison.

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