The use of smart phones and their mobile applications among older adults in Hong Kong: An exploratory study

Mimi M. Y. Tse, K. L. Chan, Anthony S. W. Wong, Eric W. C. Tam, Elaine Y. L. Fan, Gloria P. C. Yip


The purpose of this study was to explore social participation using smart phones by the older population in Hong Kong. The present study was conducted from 10-June-2013 to 16-August-2013. It was a cross-sectional survey study, and data were collected from street interviews. Potential participants were approached and invited to respond to a questionnaire. The locations for collecting data were evenly distributed on Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the New Territories. The size of the samples for Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the New Territories were calculated based on their respective proportion of the Hong Kong population in 2011. The estimated time to complete the questionnaire was approximately 10 minutes. The questionnaire included questions on demographic data and the use of smart phones and their related features. A total of 982 participants were interviewed, 46% of whom were male and 54% female. The participants were divided into the following two groups: the young-old (age 50-69) and the old-old (age 70 or above). The mean age was 67.93±10.386. The findings showed that, in comparison with the young-old group (age 50 to 69), a smaller percentage of the old-old group (70 and over) used smart phones and mobile messaging applications to communicate with others. There were no differences in patterns with regard to the type and frequency of the mobile applications being used. However, a smaller percentage of the old-old group had installed the mobile app by themselves and introduced the mobile app to others. This study reveals the behavioral patterns of the young-old and the old-old groups in the use of mobile devices to communicate. The young-old and old-old groups exhibited the same patterns in terms of the types and frequency of the mobile apps used; however, a smaller percentage of the old-old group used mobile apps to communicate. Different educational programs on the importance of social support should be established, and the promotional strategies for these programs need to be tailored to older adults.


social support; communication; Hong Kong population; older adults

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.