'Phubbing' your children could put them at risk of depression, study finds

Fashion designer using mobile phone while sitting with daughter on sofa at home

'Phubbing' your children could put them at increased risk of depression, a study has shown - part of a growing body of evidence of the indirect harm posed by smartphones.

The term refers to snubbing people to look at your phone ('phone' plus 'snubbing' equals 'phubbing').

A Chinese study investigated children aged 10-18 to assess the effects of being 'phubbed' by your own parents.

The researchers interviewed 530 students aged between 10 and 18, assessing their depressive symptoms using a questionnaire.

The researchers found that children who felt ignored by their parents were more likely to report depressive symptoms than those who had the undivided attention of their parents, the Daily Mail reported.

The researchers write: 'Based on the definition of "phubbing," the present study defined "parental phubbing" as a phenomenon where parents use their mobiles to make a child feel excluded in parent-child interactions.

'The study revealed that parental phubbing was associated with students' depression in late childhood and adolescence through two paths. The present study highlights the need to establish family norms regulating mobile phone use to reduce phubbing.'

The research highlighted habits such as having a mobile phone on the table during meal times as examples of problematic phone use.

Phubbing has previously been linked to relationship problems between adults.

A third of people in relationships in the UK say they have been 'phubbed' and it's worse among the young, with 57% of people aged 25-34 saying it affects their love lives.

Respondents in the survey of 2,000 people said that phones can build mistrust, cause arguments and even lead to infidelity.

Amanda Rimmer, of Stephensons Solicitors LLP, which commissioned the poll, said: 'Some couples now spend more time in bed with their mobile phone than being affectionate with each other.

'People sleep with their phone, eat with it, play with it and talk to it - it's almost a relationship itself.

'We've experienced a surge in divorce enquires in the last five years because of phoneaholic partners, with many people citing a partner's secretive mobile phone behaviour as an indication that the relationship is falling apart.'

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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