Technology Addictions and ADHD: Is There a Connection?

Are children with ADHD more prone to develop technology addictions? Dr. Michael Rich of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, recently used his Ask the Mediatrician forum to answer this question.

Dr. Rich noted one study1 that shows children with ADHD were more likely to develop a dependency for video games than children without ADHD, but researchers had little explanation as to why this was the case. Although the study generated no concrete conclusions about children with ADHD, Dr. Rich recommended that children two years and older should use screens for no more than one or two hours each day: "This way you can reduce the risk that screen media use might interfere with critical developmental tasks or displace the child’s essential daily activities [...] When screen media use interferes with life—especially in ways similar to better-known behavioral addictions, such as gambling—there is a clinical problem to address"2.

Parents should teach their children and teens the importance of balancing real life with screen time. Connected technology should not overshadow or replace face-to-face communication at any stage of life. Our children’s lives will be more enriched and satisfying if they learn to implement this balance.

iKeepSafe’s short movie Faux Paw Goes to the Games maybe helpful in introducing children to this topic.

References:

1Bioulac, S., Bouvard, A.P., Arfi L., (March 2008). Attention Deficit/hyperactivity Disorder and Video Games: A Comparative Study of Hyperactive and Control Children. European Psychiatry 23 (2): 134-41. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18206354
2Rich, Michael (July 19, 2010). Are Attention Disorders Connected with Technology? Ask the Mediatrician. Retrieved from http://cmch.typepad.com/mediatrician/2010/07/are-attention-disorders-connected-with-technology-addiction.html