Dr Daniel Shek
Daniel Shek (PhD, FHKPS, BBS, SBS, JP) is Associate Vice President (Undergraduate Programme) and Chair Professor of Applied Social Sciences at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He is also Advisory Professor of East China Normal University, Honorary Professor of Kiang Wu Nursing College of Macau and Fellow of the Hong Kong Psychological Society. He was Dean of Students (1996-1998) and Dean of General Education (2006-2009) of New Asia College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. During his stay at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, he was awarded two teaching awards.
He is Chief Editor of Journal of Youth Studies and Applied Research in Quality of Life, Associate Editor of Frontier in Child Health and Human Development and past Consulting Editor of Journal of Clinical Psychology. He is a Series Editor of Quality of Life in Asia published by Springer and an Associate Editor of the Encyclopedia of Family Studies to be published by Wiley-Blackwell. He is an Editorial Advisor of The British Journal of Social Work and an Editorial Board member of many international journals, including Social Indicators Research, Journal of Adolescent Health, International Journal of Behavioral Development, International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, International Journal on Disability and Human Development, and International Journal on Child and Adolescent Health.
Professor Shek has to date published 120 books, 228 book chapters and more than 500 articles in international refereed journals. He is currently Chairman of the Family Council, Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
The Role of Research in Nurturing Children and Adolescents: Examples in Hong Kong
One thorny question that service providers and policy makers have to face is how we can help children and adolescents to develop in a healthy manner. Primarily, one can develop services and policies based on cultural beliefs, such as “harsh punishment is good for children development”. However, while some cultural beliefs might work in the past, some may not work in the contemporary world. In addition to cultural beliefs, service providers and policy makers may also rely on common sense and popular beliefs to do their work, such as the belief that “crime rates will be lower for young people who have visited the prisons”. Unfortunately, common sense and popular beliefs do not necessarily give an objective picture about children problems and the most optimal way to nurture them.
In this presentation, it is argued that we need scientific studies to inform the development of services and policies for children. First, through objective assessment, research can help different stakeholders to properly understand children development. Second, research can help us understand the antecedents and consequences of children issues, such as what cause Internet addiction and the impact of such behavior. Finally, research can help service providers and policy makers understand the best intervention options to reduce children problems. Local examples will be used to illustrate children research in Hong Kong with reference to these roles.
Several observations can be highlighted from children research in Hong Kong. First, compared with the West, children and family research in Hong Kong is grossly inadequate. As Chinese people constitutes roughly one-fifth of the world’s population, related Chinese research is simply out of proportion. Second, there is a need to develop more assessment tools for children. Third, we need more longitudinal children studies to understand developmental changes across time. Fourth, intervention studies in childhood and adolescence are grossly inadequate. Fifth, policy research on children is on the low side. Sixth, comparative studies on children issues are urgently needed. Finally, with the establishment of the Family Council, it is expected that more family research with children relevance will be conducted.