ADHD and Gadget Overuse: What’s the Link?

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Most children today are inseparable with their gadgets. When before dolls and puzzles were enough to keep kids busy, now it’s the multi-colored, multi-graphic phones and tablets they want.

While it does help in relieving boredom and tantrums, a lot of parents are expressing concern. It’s not just because it eats up time for productive stuff, like doing homework or house chores, or it quickly makes kids sedentary, but more so because it shrinks attention span, leaving children distracted all the time.

ADHD From Too Much Screen Time?

Although there’s no direct link between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and frequent tech use, some studies suggest that the latter can aggravate this condition. Kids who have ADHD and are frequently on their gadgets are more likely to suffer the symptoms of inattention, having trouble organizing and finishing tasks, and hyperactivity-impulsivity, finding it difficult to stay still.

There are a number of theories explaining the link between the two. One is the fact that there’s constant stimulation of the brain, making it more prone to distractions. Children take in a lot of information and sensations from a single app game: the colors in the screen, the sounds the phone makes, the texts to read, and the mechanics of the activity, among many others. Since they’ve become used to overstimulation over time, it’s harder for them to concentrate on a task and manage impulses when they’re not on their phones.

The troubling thing about ADHD and phone use is that many parents aren’t aware of it, precisely because from an observer’s perspective, their kids are doing fine, able to hold attention while holding their gadgets. The reality is the kind of attention they’re exhibiting is done to have the “dopamine fix,” to trigger the neurotransmitter patients lack. It does seem like a self-medicating therapy, but it does more harm than good, as it may lead to worse ADHD symptoms.

What you need then is a limitation on screen time. If you find it hard to keep your children away from gadgets, go to pediatric therapists who offer help for kids with ADHD in Utah. They use different modes of therapy to control unhealthy habits among children.

Screen Time Limits for Better Health

Father closing the laptopThere are many ways you can limit children’s screen time. Start by being a good example. Kids catch the habits of the people around them. So, if you’re constantly on your phone, while on the road or during dinner, it’s likely that they’ll do the same. Resist the urge to use your gadgets all the time.

Next, you can create tech-free zones at home or tech-free periods. For instance, your dining room should be a space wherein you won’t allow gadgets, as it’s dedicated to eating and engaging in family conversations. Or, the hour before bedtime or homework time should be off limits to use of phone or tablets.

Another way you can limit screen time while promoting a healthy lifestyle is by encouraging kids to get active. Promote physical activities, like biking, swimming, dancing, or just simply playing ball with kids at your backyard. Ask your pediatric therapist too for indoor exercises that can help improve mental focus.

Are your kids glued to their phones and tablets? It may be the very thing aggravating their ADHD symptoms. Enforce screen time limits for better health.

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