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Social media

Living for ‘likes’: how Hong Kong teens reveal classic signs of social media addiction

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 July, 2018, 10:00pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 July, 2018, 10:00pm

I refer to recent reports on surveys showing that 20 per cent of teenagers in Hong Kong feel sad when they fail to garner enough “likes” from friends on social media.

Social media has become one of the most important time-killing activities for the youth of today: most cannot bear to be separated from their mobile phone for any length of time, and they obsessively search for new information on these platforms.

In a survey carried out by Apple Daily, 32 per cent of students out of 2,045 said they used social media for nine hours a day. This is insane. Can you even imagine a student using 37.5 per cent of the day to only visit social media websites such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat? Students already spend eight hours at school everyday, so a further nine hours on social media means they do not have any other activity.

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More importantly, 68 per cent of teenagers think that it is annoying to have to keep going online to use social media apps, but they still cannot beat the habit. This means they are already addicted to social media platforms.

Not only does social media take up time they could have better spent studying, it also leads to feelings of disappointment or lower self-esteem when they do not have enough “likes”.

Parents have a key role in preventing this spiral. They have to step in to stop children from playing with their phones all the time.

Matthew Hui, Hang Hau