Phubbing threatens our mental health and family wellbeing

Almost 50% of the men surveyed are at risk of phubbing because they perceive that their employers expect them to be highly available for work at any time. For women it is 33%.

London, January 23, 2023. According to the first study by IESE Business School’s International Center for Work and Family and the London-based international think tank, Home Renaissance Foundation, mental health, self-esteem or well-being could be threatened by phubbing because parents perceive that they must be highly available for work at any time of the day.

What is phubbing? Ignoring others by being on your phone or electronic devices. A practice that not only does not serve as an example for children at home (lack of technological reference) but also causes social isolation and problems in relationships, since the times when phubbing occurs most often are at mealtimes or when they spend time together. Those who are neglected are at risk of feeling unimportant, excluded or rejected.

Phubbing is intensified in cases where the family lives under financial pressure, i.e., when the health of the household economy feels threatened. In such cases, parents’ neglect of their children is 70% higher for men and 50% higher for women. (See infographics).

This financial pressure also affects “technoference”, i.e., the number of times children interrupt their interaction with their parents to pay attention to different screens. The greater the financial pressure, the more children interrupt activities with their parents to turn to digital devices.

The health of family relationships is important for later performance in the workplace, so this study recommends:

To companies: encourage their employees to disconnect from work to promote good use of technology at home and a healthy enjoyment of free time.

To families: establish rules at home regarding the use of technology and encourage healthier communication between household members, especially when eating together, travelling or enjoying leisure time.

And for schools: develop screen-free initiatives to raise awareness of the excessive use of technology and the benefits of interpersonal relationships not mediated by screens.


Other conclusions of this study are:

  1. The work of the home is the new ally for achieving better levels of employee wellbeing (See infographics | Read the press release).
  2. A positive attitude towards housework has a positive influence on parents’ relationship with their children (See infographics | Read the press release).