ADHD is a risk factor for developing problem technology use. There has also been some discussion in the popular media about whether screen time causes ADHD. Leonard Sax, a psychologist and author (Boys Adrift) who spoke at our forum in 2017 was featured in an article in Psychology Today titled, "Does Too Much Screen Time Really Cause ADHD?". In the article, he refers to a study, the first of its kind on the topic. Take a look at the article and see what you think.
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Thank you for sharing this link, Lisa. I read Leonard Sax's work as a young mom and he helped me to understand what raising healthy boys would look like. My son, Jake was diagnosed with ADHD at age 19 while in mid crisis with a gaming addiction. At the time, I really questioned the diagnosis, as I had him tested when he was much younger and this was not found. As I read Gabor Mate's work in his book, Scattered Minds, I did see that Jake was exhibiting symptoms of ADHD. He was put on a healthy diet, encouraged to exercise, and took a couple naturopathic remedies to treat. And of course, he was detoxed from gaming. As he was recovering and relapsing, the course of treatment we chose was helping Jake to sleep better and to focus. But when Jake eventually committed to quitting gaming entirely, within six months his symptoms disappeared and he no longer needed to take the remedies. In our experience we definitely saw a correlation between excessive gaming and ADHD. I hope this study and future research will help bring us closer to understanding, fully, the neurological changes that gaming can create in the brain.
Thanks Lisa highlighting this topic and Elaine for sharing your personal experience and journey.
Such an interesting topic, and the article had this to say:
"But maybe the most interesting finding is that not all screen activities had equal effects. For example: Playing video games with family had no significant association with the development of ADHD symptoms, while playing video games alone (even if playing with other people online) had a strong association with subsequent ADHD symptoms".
This made me wonder about what some of the differences could be between playing with family and playing online. Duration of gaming perhaps. Level of intensity of competition, when the game is played (ie in the early evening vs overnight to accomodate different players in different time zones) and maybe even the types of games played?
As the parent of a very active young boy, I have been doing some reading about the rates of prevalence that young boys get diagnosed with ADHD and I am so curious to see how this type of research will impact these rates, and perhaps even how we understand ADHD in the future.
Great point, Lisa. When my sons played video games together and we as a family played, there seemed to be fewer issues with Jake's attention and focus. It definitely created bigger issue for Jake when he left for university and escaped into gaming in an isolated dorm room. I would like to see more research in this area, as well.