Background and Purpose of Research
Adolescents use their smartphones for various purposes, for example, following distance/online learning, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, staying in touch with friends, having fun using social media tools. According to the social ecological model, risk behaviors, like substance consumption, are regarded as behavior problems. Relatively, etiology is derived of youths’ embeddedness surrounded by their social networks, mainly throughout sensitive development periods (Bishop et al., 2020). Given the prevalence of smartphone addiction among young students, previous studies have explored the relationships between smartphone addiction and students’ learning and indicated there is negative outcomes of smartphone resulting from overuse of mobile phones, including poor sleep quality. However, there some antecedents of smartphone addiction which has not extendedly studied, for example, parenting style, thus, the present study aimed to explore the correlates between parenting styles, academic achievement and smartphone addiction.
Parenting that reflects a combination of support and behavioral control has been linked to numerous indices of academic well-being and live functioning from early childhood through adolescence. In regarding the term helicopter parenting indicated that parents involve hovering behaviors and are potentially over-involved in the lives of their child or in their academic work (Padilla-Walker & Nelson, 2012). But empirical research has not adequately used these two construct from other controlling parenting practices to predict children’s smartphone addiction, thus, the present study applied two types of helicopter parenting: live hovering and academic hovering of parenting for of emerging adults, to explain the prediction of children’s smartphone addiction.
According to Bronfenbrenner (1979) micro ecological system that discusses the association between person-process-content (PPC), who described “person-process-context model” (PPCM) that occurs variability in development procedure as considered in this paper as a functional context (mobile phone usage), person (parenting styles) and process (academic achievement). Not only has cultural ecology be likely to pursue its complications in issues originating from social and cultural topics, but intricate schools of understanding of culture-nature relationship have developed for certain risk behavior. For example, helicopter parenting is more obvious in Chinese families than Western ones, even though the parents want their children to grow up to be independent and think for themselves. Particularly, Chinese parents are more concerned about their children’s schoolwork when they are teenagers, which leads to increased helicopter parenting problems, exacerbating issues such as lack of independence, lack of control, and not knowing how to self-manage smartphone use, which can in turn lead to smartphone addiction. If parents are in constant hovering of their children’s lives or schoolwork, children develop dependent behaviors. Some studies have indicated that a child’s dependent behaviors result in lower motivation to learn and reduced academic achievement. In line with this, drawn on PPCM to understanding the role of academic hovering and live hovering affect participants’ smartphone addiction mediated by academic achievement, hypotheses are proposed as follows.
- (1) Live hovering has a negative effect on academic achievement.
- (2) Academic hovering has a negative effect on academic achievement.
- (3) Academic achievement has a negative effect on smartphone addiction.
- (4) Live hovering has a positive effect on smartphone addiction.
- (5) Academic hovering has a positive effect on smartphone addiction.
Questionnaire was designed by adapting and translated from previous researched and gave to domain experts to ensure the content validity. Afterward, a purposive sampling was adapted in this study, a total of 400 questionnaires were distributed to 4 vocational senior high schools located in Taipei City. 354 of which were collected, resulting in a questionnaire collection rate of 88.5%. After 64 invalid questionnaires were excluded, 290 valid questionnaires remained, resulting in a valid questionnaire collection rate of 81.92%. Factor analysis was conducted on the valid questionnaires.
First, helicopter parenting, live and academic hovering had a negative association with academic achievement, with an explanatory power of 20.8%. Second, academic achievement had a negative association with smartphone addiction, with an explanatory power of 38.6%. Third, helicopter parenting had a negative association with smartphone addiction. Fourth, academic hovering had a negative association with smartphone addiction mediated by academic achievement, with an explanatory power of 20.8%.
The results of the study thus indicate that young people who are not independent in life or schoolwork tend to rely on their parents, are less able to control their smartphone use, and are more likely to develop smartphone addiction. By contrast, young people who are independent in life and schoolwork and do not need to rely on their parents have control over their smartphone use and are less likely to develop smartphone addiction.
Conclusions and Recommendations
The results of this study demonstrate that if vocational senior high school students are overly dependent on their parents in life or schoolwork, they may have lower academic achievement and therefore, they are not motivated to achieve strong academic results and will not restrain their desire to spend time on using smartphone, resulting in a tendency toward smartphone addiction. However, when vocational senior high school students do not have to rely on their parents to a great extent in life or schoolwork, they are able to act independently, attain high academic achievement, determine what they want to achieve, and arrange how they will accomplish their goals. Therefore, they have the ability to control the time they spend using their phones and will not develop smartphone addiction. This study suggests that parents should let their children learn to be independent and autonomous, which should help to effectively reduce the problem of smartphone addiction.
Finally, conducting this study highlighted possibilities for future research. Some studies suggest that fathers and mothers do not necessarily share the same parenting style, and hence, it is suggested that in a questionnaire survey, the hovering styles of fathers and mothers could be differentiated and then analyzed through a differential analysis. In addition, some smartphone use can be designed with time of use to control using time (e.g., Chinese government limited the hours for children to use smartphone). However, how is the effect of the regulation to students’ smartphone addiction should be further studied.