Research indicates that mobile phone dependency (MPD) is associated with various behavioral and internalizing problems. While a significant amount of findings points to its negative outcomes, there is a dearth of evidence concerning the determinants of MPD. This study focuses on this critical, yet understudied, subject by analyzing the associations between abusive parenting style, neighborhood characteristics, and MPD among youths in South Korea, a country with one of the highest mobile broadband penetration rates in the world. Based on the secondary analysis of two waves of Korean Children and Youth Panel Survey (KCYPS), a government-funded multiyear study, we investigate individual- and contextual-level factors underlying MPD. Findings show that, net of a host of time-lagged controls (including baseline dependency from the previous year), abusive parenting style significantly increases adolescent MPD. After adjusting for individual level characteristics, however, no contextual-level effect is found, i.e., residing in a neighborhood with a relatively higher proportion of parental abuse is not related to greater MPD. Finally, two cross-level interaction effects are observed. First, the association between parental abuse and MPD is weaker in a neighborhood context with better educated inhabitants (more college graduates). Second, it is reinforced in demographically “aged” communities with more elderly residents.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the Department of Education of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2015-2015S1A3A2046566).
© 2018 Kim, Chun. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.