Family talk time reduced by smartphones

Mobile phones are destroying relationships, with one in every six people not even talking to family members, a recent survey has found.

Around 17 percent of 848 people interviewed from July to December last year said they had not talked to their family members at all, preferring to play with their smartphones.

The survey on family appreciation was conducted by the Neighbourhood Advice-Action Council (鄰舍輔導會).

Of the more than 80 percent who did talk to family members, four-fifths said the conversations only revolved around work or homework and not about deeper thoughts or emotions.

The council urged those addicted to their devices to put them away and have more in-depth communications with their loved ones.

Meanwhile, 57 percent said they needed to work 10 hours or more a day, leaving them little time to spend with their families.

Nearly half of the praise given to children is related to obeying parents’ orders while 11 percent concerned studies. Only 4 percent is encouragement and 3 percent about attitude.

“Children and parents always talk about studies and the compliments given by parents centre around children performing up to their expectations,” the council’s executive director Tung Chi-fat (董志發) said.

Family members are also inclined to give typical compliments, rather than affective ones, Tung said. After 76 percent said their idea of a family gathering was to have dinner at home, the council recommended that families think outside the box and have different forms of get-togethers.

(This article is published on Junior Standard on 6 January 2016)

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