No Shocker Here: New Study Confirms Phones Can Harm Your Relationship With Your Kids

POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim
POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim

Another day, another study that proves the harmful impacts of smartphones. Today's study in question hails from Kostadin Kushlev and Elizabeth Dunn, two researchers who examined the effects of excessive smartphone usage on parents' relationships with their children, and — spoiler alert! — the effects aren't too great.

Kushlev and Dunn's research, which was just published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, found that smart mobile devices can distract parents and ultimately undermine how connected they feel to their kids. Shocker!

For the study, they examined 200 parents who were attending a science museum with their children. The parents were split into two groups: one was instructed to use their mobile devices as much as possible and the other was told to use them as little as possible. The parents who frequently used their phones reported feeling less attentive, which impacted the meaning they felt from spending quality time with their kids.

The researchers also conducted a second study that surveyed 292 parents about their smartphone habits over the course of one week via a daily diary. Once the seven days concluded, they found even more evidence that cell phone use can diminish how connected parents feel to their children.

"The key message is that, as enticing and useful as they might be, smartphones can make spending time with your children feel less meaningful than it would otherwise be," Kushlev told PsyPost. He added, "Our research does not show that phones make parenting meaningless — just that they can make it feel a little less meaningful when used excessively."