A recent longitudinal study published in JAMA shows what many have suspected; social media use in teens is associated with the development of ADHD.
Researchers followed approximately 2500 high school students over two years. At the start of the study none of the teens had symptoms of ADHD. Students were surveyed 5 times across the two years regarding their self-reported use of digital media, such as checking social media and texting, and frequency of ADHD symptoms. Researchers found an association between the frequency of digital media use and a higher likelihood of ADHD symptoms. By and large, students who frequently used six or more digital activities had a higher likelihood of developing ADHD symptoms. Further research is needed to determine whether this association is causal.
So what should teenagers and parents do? Limiting digital media is a start, but even as adult sometimes we engage in more screen time than may be healthy. Mindfulness can help! Researchers have suggested that time to 'reset' and relax, working on self-regulation, and tools for healthy emotional expression can help diminish the impact of screen time- all things Mindfulness offers!
Help your child or teen balance out their technology time with the tools of Mindfulness. We offer monthly introductory workshops for children, tweens, and teens. Learn more here.
Reference: Ra CK et al. Association of digital media use with subsequent symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder among adolescents. JAMA 2018 Jul 17; 320:255. (https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2018.8931)