A recent Study Published in JAMA of digital media use and ADHD symptoms is yet another example of how our increased screen time and use of social media is not necessarily doing our young adults and adolescents any favors.
This study conducted over two years in Los Angeles county followed 10th graders (15 & 16 year olds) to see what, if any, changes occurred in their attention, focus, and level of impulsivity. Using an ADHD self-reporting questionnaire/scale, approximately 10% of the subjects who frequently did all the online activities (14) in the study had reduced attention, focus and increased impulsivity. Even those who frequently did only 7 of the activities had an increase in these symptoms. In contrast, only 4.6 percent of the kids who didn’t do any of the digital activities frequently showed an increase in ADHD symptoms.
Researchers highlight that these results do not suggest that digital media use causes ADHD. But it is not taking too far a leap to suggest that learning to manage the type of activities and time spent online would serve our next generation well.
To that end, health care professionals can help by encouraging a Family Media Plan provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
JAMA. 2018;320(3):255-263. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.8931