Updated October. 06, 2012 04:58
An 8th grader has been sending an Ani Pang heart every hour to a high school student in the neighborhood. Ani Pang is a game played on the popular Kakao Talk mobile messenger service.
If he misses sending a heart or sends one late, he receives a pressing message to send it quickly. My phone is always in my hand to send a heart once an hour even while sleeping or in the class. I cant do anything because of Ani Pang, he said.
As of Friday, the number of Ani Pang users reached 17 million, with 10 million playing the game more than once a day. With the explosive popularity, more than a few people have cried for help due to the negative spillover effect.
Teenagers have coined the new expression Ani Pang Heart Shuttle, following the existing Bread Shuttle. A bread shuttle refers to a victimized student who buys snacks for bullies.
Ani Pang costs users one heart per game. Five hearts are given to newcomers, which run out quickly. Players can buy hearts or wait eight minutes to get one. People also can be presented hearts by others, or can receive one heart whenever they invite one person to the game. Those who do not want to get hearts either through purchase or invitation have decided to harass others to get hearts.
A middle school teacher, 29, said, More than a few students won`t stop playing Ani Pang even in class. They seem to have other students sending the hearts to them because they just cant stop playing.
Getting hearts involves money or tedious efforts, while giving them to others is free and easy, which causes many players to send hearts to all friends they have. They do so in the expectation of reciprocation. As a result, many people suffer from a ring tone alarming the arrival of Ani Pang hearts in the middle of the night.
A 43-year-old white-collar professional said, Most of the ring tones that wake me up in the middle of the night is because of the arrival of Ani Pang hearts. You just cant avoid it unless you turn the phone off before going to sleep.
Ahn Myung-hee, a psychology professor at Sogang University in Seoul, said, This is because the offline hierarchical relationship is reflected in the online relationship. Its even more difficult to control the relationship online than offline, so the stress is bigger.