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Children in the digital world: exploring the role of parental–child attachment features in excessive online gaming

Anjali Malik (School of Management, Bennett University, Greater Noida, India)
Ambika Prasad Nanda (SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai, India)
Rajeev Kumra (Department of Marketing, Indian Institute of Management Lucknow, Lucknow, India)

Young Consumers

ISSN: 1747-3616

Article publication date: 30 June 2020

Issue publication date: 31 August 2020




The marketing of immersive and competitive online gaming products has proliferated in recent times. Consumption has also shown a substantial increase, especially among children. Such elevated levels of gaming have adversely affected children’s overall well-being. This paper aims to examine the role of parental attachment variables in enhancing children’s self-control behavior in counteracting the adverse effects of excessive gaming. The role of gender in excessive gaming is also studied.


A conceptual framework is tested that examines the direct relationship of features of parental attachment with excessive online gaming behavior and an indirect effect through the mediation of a child’s self-control construct using structural equation modeling.


The findings indicate that parental attachment through self-control can play a significant role in limiting excessive gaming behavior among vulnerable young gamers. Excessive gaming behavior was more pronounced for boys than girls. Alienation explained excessive gaming behavior among girls, while communication was significant for boys, but in a reversed direction.

Research limitations/implications

All possible antecedent variables from the literature, like parental rearing style, that may further contribute to developing a comprehensive theoretical framework could not be studied.

Practical implications

The study suggests that the priming of children achieved through parental attachment relationships may help prevent excessive gaming behavior among vulnerable young gamers.


This study addresses the gap in the understanding of parental attachment features related to excessive gaming among different genders. It also establishes the role of the intervening mechanism of a child’s self-control in regulating behavior in relation to excessive gaming in the Indian context.



Malik, A., Nanda, A.P. and Kumra, R. (2020), "Children in the digital world: exploring the role of parental–child attachment features in excessive online gaming", Young Consumers, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 335-350.



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