TopicsBehaviourUK: parents' technology use

UK: parents’ technology use

Parental ‘technoference’ can have a negative impact on adolescents’ mental health and behavioural outcomes, a review has revealed.

Technoference is the interference and disruption caused by technology such as smartphones in daily life, particularly in interpersonal relationships. It can be seen in various forms, such as when people constantly check phones during conversations, or get distracted by notifications while with others.

The review found that adolescents recognise some level of parental technoference as normal. However, studies consistently showed that increased parental technoference was associated with the increased likelihood of adolescents engaging in violent behaviours (such as cyberbullying) and poorer mental health outcomes in adolescents, such as depression and anxiety.

In some studies, an adolescents’ risks of experiencing poorer mental health was influenced by parental warmth and personal psychological factors, such as self-esteem.

The study highlights the importance of contextual factors, such as frequency and duration of device use, when exploring this topic.

One of the authors Dr Catherine Sharp said their study ‘underscores the need for an informed approach’. She explained: ‘It is vital for adults to be aware of the guidance offered by the UK Chief Medical Officers and to implement strategies that bring about healthier digital habits for the wellbeing of all family members.’

Image | Shutterstock


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