Photo: HK Government
Photo: HK Government

A Hong Kong government survey released on Thursday found school pupils are spending an increasing amount of time online, with almost a third of primary school pupils admitting they forego outdoor activities and sleep less in order to use the internet.

The Department of Health last year interviewed 1,887 secondary schools and primary schools pupils, and their parents, about the youngsters’ use of the internet and other electronic products.

The results show that 13.1% of primary school pupils said they spent more than three hours a day online, compared to 3.2% in a similar survey carried out in 2014. Among secondary school pupils, 34% said they spent three hours a day online, up from 30% three years ago.

The study also reveals that 77% secondary pupils admit to quarreling often with their parents over excessive internet use, while 53% of primary pupils said using the internet or gadgets had got them into trouble with their parents.

Three in ten primary school pupils admitted that they had given up outdoor activities or slept less in order to go online.

Dr Thomas Chung Wai-Hung, the department’s community medicine (student health) consultant, who carried out the survey, said the increased accessibility of the internet and the growing popularity of mobile devices had both contributed to the rise.

Chung urged parents to limit their children’s use of the internet by setting rules for use. Parents are also advised to get their children engaged in other activities.