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26-08-2019 | Original Paper | Uitgave 12/2019

Journal of Child and Family Studies 12/2019

Children’s Self-Esteem and Problematic Smartphone Use: The Moderating Effect of Family Rituals

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 12/2019
Daeun Kim, Kyung Eun Jahng
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As the age at which children start to use smartphones has been drastically lowered, children’s inability to make rational decisions may pose greater risk for their problematic smartphone use than it does for adults. This study was intended to investigate the moderating effect of weekend family rituals on the relationship between children’s low self-esteem and their problematic smartphone use.


Participants of this study included 274 fifth and sixth graders (128 male and 146 female students) in five elementary schools located in Seoul and Incheon, South Korea. Multiple hierarchical regression and PROCESS 3.2 for SPSS were employed in the study.


Results indicated that children’s self-esteem was negatively associated with their problematic smartphone use and that the relationship between their self-esteem and their problematic smartphone use was moderated by their weekend family rituals.


The results indicate that spending weekends with their family members on a regular basis reduces the risk of children’s problematic smartphone use even at their low levels of self-esteem. This study emphasizes the importance of building healthy weekend family rituals as ways for children to connect with their family members and gain a sense of belonging and acceptance.

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