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Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use Community of Interest

The Gambling, Gaming & Technology Use Community of Interest brings together addiction and mental health service providers, researchers and subject matter experts in the fields of gambling, technology/Internet use and video gaming to collaborate and share knowledge on emerging trends and clinical best practices.

A recent research article published in the journal Pediatric Research looks at the effects of "technoference" (defined as digital/mobile technology use that interrupts interpersonal relationships) in a parent-child relationship. Here are some interesting findings from the study that looked at technoference in 183 couples & their children over a 6-month period:

  • 55.5% of mothers and 43.0% of fathers reported having two or more technology devices that interrupt activities with their child on a daily basis.

  • Higher technoference in both mothers and fathers was associated with greater child behavioural problems, including behaviours directed to the external environment (e.g., tantrums, emotional reactivity, etc.) and behaviours focused inward (e.g., anxiety, withdrawal, etc.).
  • Authors found that greater technoference predicted greater child behavioural problems but on the other hand, that greater child behavioural problems predicted greater parental stress, which in turn predicted technoference.


This study shows that technology can have an impact on the parent-child relationship - either helping parents cope with stressful situations that arise from a child's behavioural problems or possibly even contributing to a child's behavioural problems. What are your thoughts on the interplay of technology use and parenting? 

You can read the media article here. You can read the research article here.

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Thanks for your question, Sylvia. According to the authors, the term technoference was coined by McDaniel and Coyne (2016) and refers to interruptions in interpersonal interactions or time spent together due to technology. This can include sending texts or emails, checking your phone or social media, and even picking up a phone call or answering a text during a conversation with your child (although this is not limited just to the parent-child relationship but to other relationships in your life as well).

Hope this answers your question!

This is such important information for parents to understand in terms of interpersonal development with their young children. Although much of my Video Gaming Disorder Talk covers gaming teens and young adults, its important for parents to realize how their own behaviour with texting, emails and social media may be a contributing factor in the outbursts and tantrums they are seeing when removing gaming devices or reducing the hours their child spends gaming. Here's a good video clip with discussion of Technoference:

Such interesting findings! I wonder if the length of time that parents spend with their children make a difference to the level of technoference experienced, and in turn the behavioral outcomes - as stay at home moms of little ones under 5 spend a lot more time with their kids, and likely experience this to a greater degree than parents who work.

I also wonder if there are any mediating factors that might reduce the behavioral problems seen in young children as a result of technoference?

Thanks for sharing @Registered Member

Thanks for sharing the informative video, Elaine, and thanks Rebecca for your insightful questions. I think the current research article is scratching the surface and that more research and clinical evidence is needed on technoference and the long-term consequences on the parent-child relationship, the parent and the youth. As the article and Sarah pointed out (thank you!), it is likely a bi-directional relationship with many complex factors to consider. But this article does provide a great starting point for future research in this area!

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