Commentary response: Smartphone use and parenting: Re-stratifying the multiverse for families of young children
ORCID : 0000-0003-1945-3176
The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
School of Education
Concerns have been raised that smartphones may harm children and families. Arguably, risk-driven discourses are not always evidence-based. This is a problem, because blanket assumptions of risk drowns out nuanced empirical questions of what constitutes “good” parenting when it comes to smartphone use, and for whom. Here we outline three logical missteps which have contributed to the deficit zeitgeist—ignoring context, misinterpreting effect, and conflation. Further, we speak to questions about parents of young children, by refocusing our multiverse analysis on 800+ parents. We ask– where are the links between parental phone use and parenting? Are these robust versus frail or positive versus negative? After re-examining our 84 analytic choices (adopting existing measures), patterns revealed fragility in this case. The few findings that did emerge implicated technoference, not smartphone use, in relation to negative parenting. We encourage continued rigorous and scientific dialogue, to accrue good evidence for families and children.