Worry and permissive parenting in association with the development of internet addiction in children

Barbara Chuen Yee Lo, Romance Nok Man Lai, Ting Kin Ng, Haobi Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The Internet has experienced a rapid increase in use globally. Specifically, more than 90% of Hong Kong’s citizens use the Internet, and 70% of children in the age group of 6–17 years have daily access to it. However, internet addiction could pose serious social and health issues. Therefore, conducting research to investigate its causes and risk factors is fundamental. The current study examined the relationship between worry and Internet addiction among children in Hong Kong and investigated the moderating effect of the permissive parenting style on such a relationship. The participants consisted of 227 fourth-and fifth-grade students (120 males, 52.9%) with a mean age of 9.55 (standard deviation (SD) = 0.58) in Hong Kong. Each participant was asked to complete the questionnaires, including the Internet Addiction Test for Internet addiction, the Penn State Worry Questionnaire for Children for worry, and the Parental Authority Questionnaire for the permissive parenting style. The results indicated that worry was related to greater Internet addiction among children. Furthermore, there was a moderating effect of the permissive parenting style such that the positive association between worry and Internet addiction was stronger when the permissive parenting style was higher. Our findings imply that parenting styles are influential in the prevention of Internet addiction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7722
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Internet addiction
  • Internet use
  • Permissive parenting style
  • Worry

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