Angel or devil? School adjustment and usage pattern of smartphone apps of F.1 students in Hong Kong

Paper to be presented at #husITa16 in Seoul, Korea, 29 June 2016.


Joanne Yuen Shan Lo (University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong).


Background: Hong Kong is ranked as the highest mobile phone usage rate among Asia countries. The overuse of smartphone among teenagers arouses public and parents concern. The previous researches indicated that the frequent mobile phone usage will influence the interpersonal relationship of the teenagers (Breakthrough, 2013; HKCYS, 2013). Yet, from the frontline social worker’s observation, the critical developmental adjustment of adolescents is at the transition period from primary school to secondary school which affects their subsequent internet addictive behaviors but few researches examine such significant developmental stage in related to smartphone usage.

Method: The research aims to 1) find out the general smartphone usage pattern of F.1 students in Hong Kong. (2) understand the relationship between smartphone apps usage and the school adjustment. Self-administered questionnaires were distributed to the Form 1 students (aged 12 to 14) in 12 local secondary schools. 1114 valid questionnaires were collected.

Results: The results show that over half these F.1 students used their smartphone for 2 to 4 hours daily. 41% among them will use social apps while 67% of them will frequently use messaging apps which is more prevalent than social apps. Relating to school adjustment, the students show the lowest score on “Teacher-student relationship”.

Implications: The results indicate that the social or messaging apps is positively correlated with school adjustment. It argues that such apps help to enrich the social topics which, in turn, enhance the adjustment of secondary school life. However, the mobile phone time usage is also positively correlated with loneliness. It suggests that the students, who do not adjust well in school or feel lonely, may probably, turn to seek for recognition through virtual world or messaging. Recommendations are made for school teachers and parents on how to handle the mobile phone usage of the adolescents appropriately


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