Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 12, pp 3446–3454 | Cite as

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

  • Daeun Kim
  • Kyung Eun JahngEmail author
Original Paper



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.


Self-esteem Problematic smartphone use Family rituals 


Author Contributions

D.K. designed the study and analyzed the data. K.E.J. wrote the manuscript, assisted with the study design, supervised the data analysis, and edited the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures which involved human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This study also complied with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committees. No animals were used in this study.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. The Kyung Hee University Institutional Review Board provided approval for this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Child and Family StudiesKyung Hee UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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