A new study shows that "phubbing" - the act of "snubbing" people to look at your phone - can lead to an increased risk of depression in children, when it's done by the parents.

The Chinese study looked at 530 children aged 10-18 and studied the effects of being "phubbed" by their own parents.

Using a questionnaire, the study assessed the children's depressive symptoms and found that children who felt ignored by their parents were at a higher risk of developing depression.

In the study, published in the Journal of Adolescence, researchers say that "parental phubbing was associated with students' depression in late childhood and adolescence through two paths".


"The present study highlights the need to establish family norms regulating mobile phone use to reduce phubbing," they added.

"The results of the mediation tests revealed that parental phubbing has both direct and indirect effects on their children's depression. For the direct path, parental phubbing was positively associated with the students' depression."

One example of a problematic habit that is fairly common in households is that of keeping your cell phone at the table during meal times.

It's not just children who are affected by this growing trend. "Phubbing" has also been linked to relationship issues between adults.

In a previous poll, a third of people in relationships in the UK said they have been "phubbed" by their significant others and that it had a detrimental effect in their relationship.

Amanda Rimmer, of Stephensons Solicitors LLP, which commissioned the poll, said cell phones are growing as a cause of relationship breakdowns.

"People sleep with their phone, eat with it, play with it and talk to it – it's almost a relationship itself," she said.

"We've experienced a surge in divorce inquiries in the last five years because of phoneaholic partners, with many people citing a partner's secretive mobile phone behaviour as an indication that the relationship is falling apart."