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My Take

Hong Kong most connected place in the world – except to reality

Being online 24/7 and on multiple devices is taking a heavy toll on our health

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 May, 2016, 11:16am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 May, 2016, 11:16am

Hong Kong people seem proud of being the most connected in the world, though the price we pay for being online all the time may be too high. It seems most of the time we spend on the internet is unproductive and unhealthy, and contributes to our being one of the most sleep-deprived populations in the world.

Officials like to boast that we are a key internet hub in the region. According to the latest GfK Connected Consumer Index ranking of 78 countries and eight world regions, our city comes in first place. It includes the use of internet-connected devices such as smartphones, tablets and desktops, wearables, connected cars and smart-home gadgets.

We have some of the highest broadband speeds and penetration rates in the world. The average mobile phone user owns 2.3 phones.

Hong Kong still the world’s most connected place; Singapore not even in top 10

But are all these a good thing? At about the same time the consumer index was released, another survey, sponsored by insurer AIA, finds Hong Kong people have the least healthy lifestyle in the Asia-Pacific region.

Hong Kong people sleep an average of 6.5 hours a day and spend 3.7 hours online for non-work purposes. We score the lowest in the healthy living index and are the most sleepless in 15 places surveyed in the region.

“The more time people spend on the internet, the less time they can spend on other things,” Thomas Isaac, director of Intuit Research which conducted the survey, said. “Sleep is one of the things that gets affected and also exercise time gets affected.”

He believes our online activities mostly relate to social media. Of course, we don’t talk anymore; we only text. Face time seems like a waste of time.

The survey also finds that only 29 per cent of Hong Kong respondents had a medical check-up in the past year, compared with the regional average of 52 per cent.

Our stress level is also high, tallying a score of 6.7 compared to the regional average of 6.2 on a scale of one to 10.

Sleep deficit has been a global phenomenon, with some experts labelling it as a health crisis. But we in Hong Kong seem to be worse than most people elsewhere.

Take a nap. Read a book. Smell the coffee.

Anything is better than staring at your iPhone all day.