Knowledge and Resource Hub
16 July 2018

Impact of parents mobile device use on parent-child interaction: A literature review

This study reviewed research evidence on parents' mobile device distractions while caring for their children and the implications of this distraction for parent-child relationships. There is increased use and reliance on mobile devices which are seen as essential in keeping people continually connected. Users typically feel pressured to respond quickly to calls or messages and are often reluctant to disconnect from devices. Such use disrupts parent-child interactions, with parents using devices during parent-child interaction being less verbally and non-verbally sensitive and responsive to their children. Such interactions can lead to poorer quality interactions, with children trying harder to regain their distracted parents’ attention and often engaging in risky behaviour to attract the parent’s attention. It has been suggested that children’s risky attempts to gain a parent’s attention may be related to increasing rates of childhood injuries. Use of mobile devices is also a source of family conflict and both parents and children report concerns about use.