Researchers claim that adults are guilty of phubbing - ignoring somebody in favour of their phone - and damaging their relationship with their children as a result.
When parents were unable to put down the devices, phone addiction was also shown to be much higher in teenagers.
The study, conducted by a public health team at China's Lanzhou and Shenzhen Universities, tracked smartphone use among almost 10,000 teenagers and found a clear correlation between them and their parents.
Dr. Yanni Wang, writing in the Journal of Affective Disorders, said: "Adolescents had a higher tendency toward addiction when their parents excessively used smartphones.
"Overuse has become a social issue for adolescents, affecting personal lives and academic achievements. It can have debilitating effects on physical and mental health, causing fatigue, indigestion problems, sleep disturbance, depression, anxiety and impulsiveness."