Can Media Use Cause ADHD Symptoms in Children?

Can there be a link between the rising rate of ADHD diagnoses in children and adolescents and the proliferation in fast-paced media aimed at children?   Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is characterized by symptoms such as attention problems, hyperactive behaviour, and impulsivity in children, usually leading to disruptions at both home and school.  While children in developed nations are routinely stimulated by television shows, movies, and video games, research studies investigating a potential link with ADHD symptoms fail to show a consistent relationship. 

Despite clear evidence for a media-ADHD link, various potential explanations have been put forward to explain why media could have this kind of effect on children.  In addition to the violent content often found in media aimed at children and adolescents, critics have also pointed out that entertainment media has become increasingly fast-paced.  With frequent cuts between scenes, abrupt editing, and fast movements, television shows and movies seem to focus more on action than actual plot development.  Another suggestion is that the number of hours spent watching television and movies, as well as playing video games, can be affecting attention span in children. 

To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.


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