252 – Parental phubbing and child social-emotional adjustment: A meta-analysis

Presentation - ECV2022-252

Parental phubbing and child social-emotional adjustment: A meta-analysis

Jinghui Zhang, Shanghai Normal University, China (z_jingyan@163.com)
Yan Li, Shanghai Normal University, China (liyan@shnu.edu.cn)
Chuanmei Dong, Macquarie University, Australia (chuanmei.dong@mq.edu.au)
Yue Jiang, Shanghai Normal University, China (903459906@qq.com)
Qing Zhang, Shanghai Normal University, China (1875505478@qq.com)

Background: Parental phubbing is a new phenomenon where parents neglect their children in social situations by concentrating on phone use. With increasing smartphone use in many households, parental phubbing is a potential threat to children’s healthy development.

Aim: To summarise the existing research studies on the impacts of parental phubbing on children’s social-emotional development to obtain reliable estimates of the effect sizes and examine a range of moderators (i.e., children’s gender and age, culture, and measure tools).

Method: Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) method, five electronic databases (Web of Science, EBSCO, Springer, ProQuest, and CNKI) were systematically searched in March 2022. Only papers written in English and Chinese were used. CMA3.3 was used for data analysis. Effect size estimates were pooled using random-effects meta-analysis for five child outcomes (i.e., internalising problems, externalising problems, problematic mobile phone use, self-concept, and social competence), and moderator analyses conducted.

Results: In total, 48 studies including 52,272 child participants and 81 effect sizes were obtained based on a comprehensive literature search. The analysis revealed parental phubbing has positive association with children’s internalising problems, externalising problems, and problematic mobile phone use, while it is negatively correlated with children’s self-concept and social competence. Regarding the moderating analysis, the type of internalising problems, externalising problems, and problematic mobile phone use all had a significant moderating effect. In addition, children’s age was also a significant moderator of the association between parental phubbing and internalising problems. This association was significantly greater in adolescents than infants.

Conclusions: Parental phubbing has adverse effects on children’s social-emotional adjustment.

Implications for children and families: Children express frustration and disappointment with parental phubbing, and even show a series of maladaptive behaviours. If you want your child to develop better, you should put all your thoughts on your child and put your mobile phone out of sight when you are with your child.

Keywords: parental phubbing, children’s social-emotional adjustment, meta-analysis, communication, social media

This presentation relates to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

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