Frequent Technology Use Linked To ADHD Symptoms

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Julia Cohen Reporter
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Teens who frequently text, check social media and play video games are more likely to show symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than those who do not, a Tuesday study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found.

The study looked at the use of 14 different digital media activities. The teens who frequently used all 14 digital media mediums had a 10.5 percent chance of having six or more ADHD symptoms, such as difficulty paying attention or completing tasks. Teens who used seven mediums frequently had a 9.5 percent chance of having ADHD symptoms. Among those who did not use any digital media mediums frequently, there was a 4.6 percent chance of having ADHD symptoms.

The most common digital media activity was checking social media, with 54.1 percent of teens saying they did this more than two times a day. Texting was close behind, with 52.1 percent of teens saying they sent texts more than two times a day.

“I don’t think it’s reason for panic. But I’m a clinician who sees kids with ADHD all the time, and I don’t want to see an increase,” Jenny Radesky, a University of Michigan assistant professor of pediatrics, said according to The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. “Executive function and flexible problem solving—all that matters for long-term success.” (RELATED: To Avoid Alzheimers, Pay Attention To Your Blood Pressure)

The study didn’t find a causal relationship between technology use and ADHD. Other factors, such as home life and biological differences, may be independently behind increased frequency of both technology use and ADHD symptoms.

The average age of the study participants was 15.5 years, and 54.4 percent of participants were girls. Students self-reported social media use and ADHD symptoms at regular intervals over two years. The study has a five percent margin of error and followed 2,587 teens.

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