Date
27 March 2017
Parents and children sometimes find little time to talk to each other, even at dinner time, because they are preoccupied with social media. Photo: HKEJ
Parents and children sometimes find little time to talk to each other, even at dinner time, because they are preoccupied with social media. Photo: HKEJ

Too much social media can harm parent-child relationship: survey

Almost four in 10 Hong Kong parents with young children admit they use social media frequently and this has affected their relationship with their children, a survey shows.

The survey found that 35 percent of the 944 respondents normally spend more than three hours a day on social media and the younger they are, the longer they tend to use it, Sing Tao Daily reports. 

Two in 10 respondents said they and their children often communicate with outsiders through social media while relaxing at home.

About 38 percent of the respondents said time spent on social media could be reduced by 20 percent, which could then be used to talk to their children, while 36 percent acknowledged that spending too much time on social media has adverse effects on interpersonal relationships.

The survey was jointly conducted by the Mental Health Association of Hong Kong and the School of Continuing and Professional Education at the City University of Hong Kong from January to March.

Nearly 1,000 parents with children aged between 9 and 16 were interviewed through a questionnaire about their social media habits and views on social media.

The survey found that more than four in 10 respondents feel great pressure in terms of educating their children and maintaining good relationships with them.

About 35 percent said the pressure is mainly financial, while 36 percent admitted they are not psychologically healthy and their condition tends to worsen if they spend more time on social media than talking to their children.

Ching Chi-kong, assistant director (service and education) of the association, said the survey results show that excessive use of social media is detrimental to parent-children relationship.

Ching said the association receives a lot of calls from parents seeking help and guidance on how to deal with children who are used to communicating with them only through text messages.

Parents can change the situation by taking the initiative to talk to their children face-to-face or by phone, and by going out with them more often, Ching added.

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TL/AC/CG

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