The Emotional and Behavioral Impact of Parental Phubbing

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Xiangyun TangGaofei LiXiaochun Xie

Abstract: The term “phubbing” is a portmanteau word of “phone” and “snubbing” used to describe the phenomenon, in which an individual focuses on their smartphone during face-to-face communication instead of paying attention to others (Chotpitayasunondh & Douglas, 2016; Karadag et al., 2016). The term “phubber” refers to the person who snubs their conversational partner, while the term “phubbee” describes the person who is phubbed during social interaction. A growing body of research investigated the role of parental phone distraction on their child’s development and parent-child interactions. The term “parental phubbing” is defined as a parent’s undesired mobile phone usage during a parent-child interaction (Xie et al, 2019). Converging evidence demonstrates that parental phubbing hampers the quality of parent-child relational interaction (Xie & Xie, 2020) and adversely associates with children’s mental health (Chotpitayasunondh & Douglas, 2016; Xie et al., 2020) and behavior (Fu et al., 2020; McDaniel& Radesky, 2018; Xie & Xie, 2020). Although these previous studies verified the adverse effects of parental phubbing on a child’s emotional and behavioral outcomes, some limitations exist in these studies. For example, the definition of parental phubbing is problematic, certain geographical areas are overrepresented (e.g., Chinese adolescents), and there are a general lack of causal conclusions, etc. These limitations require further clarification: Whether those effects are strong enough to evoke changes in their child? How much of the adolescent negative behavioral and emotional outcome can be ascribed to parental phubbing? How consistent are the effects across studies and different populations? In which conditions do these observed effects change? To address these questions, this paper will: 1) provide a narrative review of the extant research on parental phubbing, including a look into adolescent child’s associated behavioral and emotional outcomes; 2) examine how parental phubbing is measured and critique the approaches of previous researchers;3) assess the major findings and note areas where findings conflict and gaps remain, thereby allowing us to provide future researchers with directions where additional attention is needed; The central purpose in this paper is to critically review how strong these empirically verified findings are. My paper will consist three sections. Section (1) will provide brief introduction of parental phubbing and the scope of this review. Section (2) will critically review parental phubbing and child’s outcome, including current definition, parental phubbing instruments, applied research method and theory. I will suggest important questions or issues for investigators to consider.

Keywords: phubbing, parent-child relationship, review and critique

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1002758

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