Teenagers who frequently use digital media are more likely to develop ADHD, according to a new report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers found there was a statistically significant but modest association between higher frequency of digital media use and subsequent symptoms of ADHD."
It’s not clear, however, whether digital media use causes ADHD or if teens who develop ADHD are using digital media more than those without ADHD.
Kelsey Seybold's Dr. Pamela Sanders said children who have ADD tend to gravitate towards digital media use because it is stimulating.
“The kid who spends a lot of time on digital media may not develop the skills of being as attentive and reflective and being able to do slower contemplative sort of activities as well,” said Sanders.
Sanders said even if the diagnosis is made when the child is a teenager, retrospectively...the child needs to have had some of the ADD symptoms before age 12.
“The symptoms of ADD are pretty subjective, you know often doesn't seem listen, easily distractible, difficulty with organization,” said Sanders.
She said parents need to be very engaged in their child's digital media use, not only the amount of time spent on there, but choice of programming, as well.
New digital media is always available via mobile devices.
A recent survey from Common Sense Media found that teens spend nearly nine hours per day using online media
Sanders said there's no reason why children should use digital media nine hours a day--their recommendation is two hours a day--max.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 6.1 million, or nearly one in 10 children in the U.S., have ADHD.