A vicious circle between children’s non-communicative smartphone use and loneliness: Parents cannot do much about it

Published on Nov 1, 2021in Telematics and Informatics
· DOI :10.1016/J.TELE.2021.101677
Anja Stevic4
Estimated H-index: 4
(University of Vienna),
Jörg Matthes50
Estimated H-index: 50
(University of Vienna)
Abstract null null Children are increasingly using their own smartphones for communicative and non-communicative purposes. In fact, studies showed that different ways of using the smartphone might influence loneliness, and as a consequence, loneliness might also enhance further engagement with the smartphone. In this context, parents play an important role because they can regulate children’s smartphone use. The present study tested the moderating role of active and restrictive parental mediation on the relations between different types of smartphone use and children’s loneliness. We conducted a two-wave panel survey among 10- to 14-year-old children and their parents, resulting in total of 384 parent–child pairs at Time 2. Our results revealed that non-communicative use at Time 1 increased loneliness at Time 2. We also found a reciprocal influence, that is, loneliness at Time 1 increased children’s non-communicative use at Time 2. We found no moderating influence of active and restrictive parental mediation on the relations between children’s smartphone use and loneliness. Our findings are discussed against the background of the poor-get-poorer effect regarding smartphone use.
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