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Survey finds one in five Hong Kong parents spend too little time chatting with their children

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One in five parents chat with their children less than once a week – a trend that could affect performance in school, a new study has found.

Researchers at Chinese University surveyed 15,000 Primary Three, Primary Six, and Form Three students, finding that 14 to 20 per cent of children across the education levels held conversations with their parents less than once a week.

More than 80 per cent of parents ate dinner with their children almost daily, but 5 to 9 per cent did so only once or twice a month.

“It’s is alarming because this is unusual for this culture,” Florrie Ng Fei-yin, an associate professor in educational psychology at the university, said.

The report also found that students had a “moderately better” academic performance in English, Chinese, and mathematics when their parents discussed school life and had dinner with them more.

Greater parental involvement “generally leads to better academic achievement,” Dr Hau Kit-tai, professor of educational psychology at Chinese University, said.

In addition, half of Primary Three students said their parents “seldom” help with homework.

Associate professor Florrie Ng said parents with lower educational backgrounds can still lend moral support to their children’s studies, while others can make use of technology such as Whatsapp to stay in touch when apart.

“While quantity of interaction is valued, what’s important is also the quality,” she said.

According to an annual UBS survey, Hong Kong parents face challenges such as the longest working hours worldwide.

Last year the Institute of Family Education also found that almost half of parents with primary school children said they spend less than seven hours a week on family time.



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