A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association claims that there is a link between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and spending too much time consuming digital media. The study was conducted over two years as researchers tracked the development of ADHD in 2,500 teenagers and noticed symptoms started to appear as the teens' screen time increased.
The researchers found that "with each notch a teen climbed up the scale of digital engagement, his or her average level of reported ADHD symptoms rose by about 10%."
They pointed out that using digital media does not cause ADHD, and the symptoms shown in the study group were not enough to warrant a clinical diagnosis. The L.A. Times suggests that it is possible the correlation could be reversed and that as the symptoms manifest they could cause the teens to spend more time using their smartphone or playing video games.
Since ADHD is linked to sensation-seeking behavior, and digital media use is highly stimulating, subjects with “subclinical” attention problems might have become the study’s heaviest digital users. As the study unfolded, their symptoms may simply have become more pronounced.
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