Gender differences of internet use among young people in Hong Kong: Implications for social work practice

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


Hau-Lin Cherry Tam (City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong); Wai Cheuk Choi and Eugene Chau (Hong Kong Children and Youth Services, Hong Kong).


Although internet use has significantly changed people’s daily communication, education and entertainment, it brings possible risks simultaneously, such as internet addiction, cyberbullying or cheating, etc., for both individuals and organizations. To reveal internet use of young people in Hong Kong, this self-administered questionnaire survey was randomly conducted in 20 secondary schools and 2 outreach social work teams in Tai Po District from December 2014 to June 2015. Eventually, 2,102 valid questionnaires (aged 11 to 24 years) were collected. 208 of which were outreach clients.

In the survey, 92.3% of the respondents had internet connection at home. 84.7% had smart phones, while percentage of the outreach clients was even higher at 97.1%. These results indicated that internet and smart phone uses among young people in Hong Kong were common regardless of their socio-economic statuses. Moreover, daily online and monthly internet expenses among outreach clients and the male respondents were significantly longer and higher than school youths and the female respondents. Gender difference was also found in the online activities of the respondents. The most usual online activities of the males were those individual oriented online games, online gambling, online comic stories and browsing sex related materials, while the females were those rather social and interactive oriented online shopping, uploading photos, communication through immediate messages and social networking sites. Although most respondents agreed that internet uses influenced their school performance and relationships with others, they were less conscious of its influence to their physical health.

When internet use has become an indispensable part of young people, prohibition could no longer be possible. Acceptance and education of wise use of internet could be a way to use healthily and safely. Based on the gender difference on the patterns of their online activities, specific programmes and activities should be provided to cater their needs.


[slideshare id=64177246&doc=genderdifferencesofinternetuse-tamchoichau6-160719192708]


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