Children's digital habits depend on parenting more than schooling for healthy development, a study led by the University of Hong Kong has found. Whether it's the ability to use Powerpoint, mix music or create graphics or issues such as internet addiction, parents need to teach children from a young age, said Professor Allan Yuen Hoi-kau, who led the two-year study. "Digital integration is not an issue in this age in Hong Kong - it has successfully infiltrated into almost every part of our lives," Yuen said. "But you can see that there is a difference in how families treat it." The study followed 22 students from Primary Two to Form Five for one year, recording their digital habits as well as interviewing their teachers, classmates and parents. The students were picked according to a wide range of criteria in an attempt to cover all family, economic and educational backgrounds, Yuen said. Out of the 22 students, five were classified as "productive users" - students who had a positive attitude towards the internet and related digital tools. Another 10 were average users who treated the digital world as something "permitted after homework is done", while seven were identified as at-risk or "struggling users". All those found to be struggling were secondary school students, and none used information and communication technology for learning purposes or creativity. The study showed that those in the struggling category came from lower-income or less harmonious family backgrounds. As all are in secondary school, there was also less parental control over their digital usage. "I would argue that the influence of parents is much more important than [that of] schools," said Jae Park, who was part of the research team and an assistant professor of international education and lifelong learning at the Institute of Education. "The digital divide is not just about how tech-savvy parents are, but the culture fostered at home regarding digital use." Low-income parents typically had less time to communicate with children than those of greater means, and did not teach children from a young age the most effective ways to use digital tools, Yuen said. Having clear rules and being a good model, as well as exploring the online world together with children was a good way to teach youngsters, he said. "If you want your children to not play with their phones during meal times, the trade-off would be you yourself should not be swiping your phone at such times," he said.