Upswing in ADHD Coincides With Use Of Digital Gadgets

By  //  July 3, 2013

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REAL WORLD NOT AS STIMULATING AS VIRTUAL WORLD

ABOVE VIDEO: Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician, parent, and researcher whose influential findings are helping identify optimal media exposure for children, addresses the “technologizing” of childhood, and focuses on the things that parents can do to enhance childrens’ ability to pay attention and avoid attention deficit conditions. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) diagnosed ten times more commonly today than twenty years ago, the impact on children of environmental factors, like the use of digital devices and time spent in front of screens, has been a focus of intense study on several fronts.

KIDS AND VIDEO GAMES ss

Children may struggle to pay attention in the real world because it isn’t as stimulating or rewarding as the virtual world, increasing the risk of attention issues.

Although there appears to be a relationship between the rise of ADHD and the use of mobile devices, researchers are reluctant to draw a direct correlation between gadgets and ADHD. However, in a 2011 study published in The Journal of Pediatrics it was found that children and young adults who overdo TV and video games are nearly twice as likely to suffer from a variety of attention span disorders.

The article contrasts the fragmented, fast-paced nature of electronic media with the slower pace of real life, suggesting that children may struggle to pay attention in the real world because it isn’t as stimulating or rewarding as the virtual world, increasing the risk of attention issues.

MASHABLE.COM–Go to any family restaurant and you’ll be surrounded by kids. Some will be antsy, others will be well-behaved and a lot of them will be playing on their phones and iPads.

Oh, and one in ten of them have ADHD.

Children-with-Tablets

Children on average spend nearly seven and a half hours each day staring at screens. (Kimberly Image)

It’s an epidemic. In the U.S., 6 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It’s become the most common childhood behavioral condition. In fact, over the past decade, the number of kids diagnosed with the disorder surged by over 50%. And in the last six years, that rate has jumped about 15%, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The rise in ADHD has coincided with the rise of mobile devices. According to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, children on average spend nearly seven and a half hours each day staring at screens. That’s up 20% from just five years ago. Is there a relationship between the two? Yes, but it’s not so clear-cut.

CLICK HERE to read the complete story on Mashable.com.


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