Many young Hongkongers unable to control their smartphone addiction, new survey finds

More than 30 per cent of respondents said they were on their phones three to four hours per day

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 April, 2017, 5:41pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 April, 2017, 2:29am

More than half of city youngsters are on their smartphones for over three hours a day and it’s ­affecting their grades, daily routines and family lives, according to a survey by a concern group.

At least 40 per cent of the 992 mostly secondary school students, aged 11 to 20, questioned on ­mobile usage and habits ­admitted they could only muster some or, at worst, no self-control in their use of mobile devices.

The survey was conducted ­between October and November last year by the Anti- Pornographic and Violence Media Campaign.

The group is a coalition of ­conservative educators, social workers, parents and religious groups that seeks to protect youngsters from indecent influences in the mass media.

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About 78 per cent of respondents said intense smartphone use had affected daily routines and 72 per cent admitted their grades had suffered.

A third of respondents said they were on their devices three to four hours a day, while a quarter admitted to five to six hours or more. Top uses cited were listening to music, social media, instant messaging and playing games.

More time on smartphones also meant increased exposure to news and information – both the credible and dubious.

But whether or not a news item was true or false was only the main consideration for 60 per cent of respondents before they shared something.

Two thirds also admitted they would never “actively” click into news websites to read original content.

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Group convenor Tang Wai-hung said the trend was a concern from an education and liberal studies perspective, which is ­supposed to help youngsters understand current affairs.

“Schools and parents should think about how they can encourage kids to get their news and ­information from multiple sources, not just one,” said Tang, a lecturer at Chinese University’s department of social work.

Ironically, about 30 per cent of respondents also had qualms about their parents being addicted to devices, which they felt was affecting care for them.

Eastern District Federation of Parent Teacher Associations chairman Jao Ming urged parents to lead by example by putting down their smartphones and to ­communicate more with their children.