Mobile phone access across the country has brought young boys and girls closer to each other, and due to social pressures the underage dating quickly translates into teenage marriage and pregnancy.

SANGKUM THEM, Cambodia — Teenage pregnancy in Cambodia has increased by 50 percent in the past four years, according to a report by Save the Children. Although this increase parallels a rise in child marriages, surprisingly, the spouses are of more or less the same age group, and the families and the couples say they love marriage. Some attribute this rise to the availability of mobile technology, which allows teenagers to start their romance via texting and avoid parents having a say in choosing the spouse.

(Tara Todras-Whitehill / TRTWorld)

Theary Pov, 15, is the mother of a one-year-old daughter. She works in her family's grocery shop in the Chamroreun village of Sangkum Them district in northern Cambodia. I met Theary on July 23, 2017. She had been married to her husband for two years and was three months pregnant with her second child. She was 13 and her husband was 20 when they married. They started their romance on social media and once their parents found out they felt like they had no choice but to let them be together or else face shaming from their community. The legal age for marriage for girls in Cambodia is 18, but minors between 16-18 can marry with their parents' approval. Theary went ahead with a wedding ceremony. (Photo Credit/Tara Todras-Whitehill/European Journalism Centre)

(Tara Todras-Whitehill / TRTWorld)

Theary (on the left) and her husband who's holding their one-year-old daughter are sitting at their home, with the couple's wedding picture hanging on the wall. (Photo Credit/Tara Todras-Whitehill/European Journalism Centre)

(TRTWorld)

Cambodians attend a festival in the Chamroreun village, which takes place twice a year. Public festivals are rare in rural areas, and are one of only a few social events that allow teenagers to socialise and meet people outside of their family's house. Typically, Cambodian teenagers get to know each other using cell phones, text messages and social media. (Photo Credit/Tara Todras-Whitehill/European Journalism Centre)

(Tara Todras-Whitehill / TRTWorld)

Cambodian young adults watch others dance at a biannual party with amusement park rides in the Chamroreun village, Sangkum Them District, northern Cambodia, July 23, 2017. (Photo Credit/Tara Todras-Whitehill/European Journalism Centre)

(Tara Todras-Whitehill / TRTWorld)

Phon Phean, 18, left, holds her five-year-old child Dou and laughs as her husband, 25, plays with his friend in their commune in a small village, Sangkum Them District, northern Cambodia, July 24, 2017. Phon Phean and her sister Phon Rota were orphaned at a young age and they lived with their aunt and grandmother. They were allowed to get married young from their family because they felt it would be helpful to have someone to take care of them.  (Photo Credit/Tara Todras-Whitehill/European Journalism Centre)

(Tara Todras-Whitehill / TRTWorld)

Phon Phean at their home in a small village, Sangkum Them District, northern Cambodia, July 24, 2017. (Photo Credit/Tara Todras-Whitehill/European Journalism Centre)

(Tara Todras-Whitehill / TRTWorld)

Lam Sreypov, 17, washes dishes in her family's shack, July 25, 2017, in the Chamroreun village, Sangkum Them District. Lam met her husband when she was 15 and he was 18. They started messaging each other on social media and then met in private locations when they could. She was married at 16, and got pregnant very quickly. Her husband has now been around less and less, and Lam's father thinks he isn't taking care of his family. (Photo Credit/Tara Todras-Whitehill/European Journalism Centre)

(Tara Todras-Whitehill / TRTWorld)

Pat Sophy, 17, who is seven months pregnant, holds her youngest sister as she sits with her husband Thom Kham, 20, at their family's home in a small village in Siem Pang, northern Cambodia, July 26, 2017. Pat and her 20-year-old husband Thom are part of an indigenous population in the country that tend to have a lot more children. They married when Pat was 16 and they came to know each other through a party in the village, after which they started messaging on the phone. (Photo Credit/Tara Todras-Whitehill/European Journalism Centre)

(TRTWorld)

Pat Sophy, 17, who is seven months pregnant, holds her youngest sister as she stands with her husband Thom Kham, 20, outside their family's home in a small village in Siem Pang, northern Cambodia, July 26, 2017. (Photo Credit/Tara Todras-Whitehill/European Journalism Centre)

Source: TRT World