Introduction

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Hong Kong Family Welfare Society
About the Net Education and Counseling Services:

The net education and counseling services offered by Hong Kong Family Welfare Society (HKFWS) aim to address the problems that have arisen due to the increasing popularity of the internet. These include, for example, internet addiction, cyber bullying, the online generation gap, the spread of inappropriate content, and smartphone overuse. These problems harm not only the mental health of children and youth, but also family relationships. With a family perspective, we have taken a forward-looking approach, adopted creative work methods, and flexibly deployed resources. They have launched programs and events that respond to the needs of different social segments and remedy gaps in the services in society.

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The services are grounded in empirical evidence, with research findings guiding the direction of services and intervention methods. Also, the program has introduced international research, such as U.S. author Kimberly Young’s authoritative survey on online addiction, to evaluate the severity of users’ online addiction. In response to the needs of different service groups, our fellow staff designed various innovative, multi-level intervention models, which include activities focused around education, prevention, and treatment. In order to find more professional and more suitable methods of intervention, we have been actively cooperating with different professionals (such as teachers and lawyers) to have in-depth discussions on internet issues. Furthermore, we have been actively encouraging the participation of service users and people who have gone through the experience to serve as volunteers, to exhibit a spirit of mutual support and to establish a harmonious and more acceptant society.
Service Objectives

1. Foster healthy and safe online attitudes and behaviors in children and youth;
2. Reduce conflicts between parents and children that are triggered by internet issues, and promote understanding and communication between parents and children regarding the internet;
3. Encourage the participation of people from all segments of society and special needs individuals;
4. Help the public recognize the online risks and advocate a healthy online culture.

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From the time the service was established until now, we have received wide recognition from our service users and partners, as well as coverage from Hong Kong and foreign media (such as BBC from the UK). Our aim is to increase public awareness of the youth online culture while seeking to advocate social change, for example, by establishing a healthy online culture in schools, advocating for school policies with “zero tolerance” of cyber bullying, and encouraging healthy use of digital devices.

In order to further develop localized net education and counseling services, we have partnered with professionals across different industries in Hong Kong to seek more professional and effective intervention methods, so we are able to address the needs of society for responding to these emerging issues. In the past, we have served over one third of the schools and communities in Hong Kong, and many have directly benefited from our services.