Adolescent Internet Addiction in Hong Kong: Prevalence, Psychosocial Correlates, and Prevention (2019)

J Adolesc Health. 2019 Jun;64(6S):S34-S43. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2018.12.016.

Chung TWH1, Sum SMY2, Chan MWL2.


The prevalence of Internet addiction (IA) and its correlates among Hong Kong adolescents and local prevention programs for adolescents’ IA were reviewed and analyzed, with a view to identifying service gaps and making suggestions on ways forward. From 8 papers identified from ProQuest and EBSCOhost, published from 2009 to 2018, the local prevalence rates of IA in adolescents were noted to range from 3.0% to 26.8%, which was higher than that in other regions of the world. The more recent the studies, the higher the prevalence rate. Seven papers provided the correlates of IA. Risk factors for IA included being male, higher school grade, poor academic performance, with depression, suicidal ideation, from disorganized family, with family members having IA, parents with lower education level, and using restrictive parenting style. Teens with self-confidence, higher school performance, having positive youth development qualities, with well-educated parents, were found to be protective against IA. IA adversely affects adolescents’ growth and physical, mental, and psychosocial development. Ten prevention programs were identified from these search engines as well as government departments and agencies’ Web sites. They all focused on education, skills training, behavior modification, and raising public awareness. Unlike tobacco and alcohol, the Internet is a tool, and media literacy has become an essential skill. Based on current evidence, modifiable protective factors should be strengthened to curb the problem.

KEYWORDS: Adolescents; Correlates; Hong Kong; Internet addiction; Prevalence; Prevention; Protective factor; Risk factor

PMID: 31122547

DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2018.12.016