A young man frustrated at being jobless for a long time lived like a hermit for eight years. He confined himself to his home and stretched the HK$6,000 cash handout he got from the government for a year.
His might be an extreme case, says the Caritas Jockey Club Integrated Service for Young People in Lei Muk Shue, Kwai Hing.
But Paul Law Kei-lun, a social worker with the non-government organization, said such "abnormal" behavior affects more men than women.
The man was simply unable to handle his life after his job applications were repeatedly rejected. "He just kept his expenses to a minimum and survived on only HK$100 each week," Law said.
Caritas analyzed the 115 cases it has dealt with since October 2010, comprising 92 men and 23 women.
Law said female teenagers are more extroverted than their male counterparts.
About one-third or 37 cases involved youngsters 14 to 15 years old and many dropped out of Secondary Two after failing several times. He said the teenagers did not have a very active peer group and did not mix with them on weekends or speak much to them.
Some of them might have online friends but no face-to-face interaction took place. They also confined themselves to their rooms.
Ah Hei, 19, became a recluse four years ago after he found it difficult to catch up in school. He refused to leave home and his activities were "very limited" to his family and a few friends. He spent eight to nine hours a day playing computer games.
"I had problems in my life but could not find a way to sort them out," he recalled.
"Playing computer games gave me satisfaction and better self-confidence."
With the help of Caritas, Hei has resumed his studies and is now doing a computer course at the Institute of Vocational Education.