Is ADHD linked to video games? Like many others, I have wasted far too much time playing Angry Birds, and my son who has ADHD plays games too.
Gaming seemed like a harmless distraction and I didn't think video games and ADHD were related.
However, according to a study conducted by Iowa State University, children who play video games for two or more hours per day double their risk of developing attention problems including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD).
As a result of sustained brain stimulation from flashing video screens, researchers suggest that this may make it more difficult to "quiet" the brain and focus on work tasks.
Further, children or teens who play video games for two hours or more per day are at increased risk of developing depression and other mental health disorders.
Such children are also more likely to experience poor school performance, less developed social skills, insufficient sleep, and poor diet. Insufficient sleep or lack of restful sleep occurs when one stays up late playing video games, and constantly stimulating the brain with sound and images when the body should in a restful state.
As a result, children are less able to learn and less equipped to mange their school responsibilities.
If you are an adult parent concerned about this topic, think about how you perform the next day after staying up way past your bedtime. It's the same thing for your child.
* Limit children to no more than two hours of screen time per day.
* Encourage more physical activity or sports as a substitute for video games.
* Encourage a balanced and healthy diet.
* Encourage adequate sleep habits.
Keep in mind that this correlation between ADHD and video game usage does not indicate causality, but the evidence is nonetheless intriguing. A thorough answer to this question is forthcoming as research is ongoing.
In the meantime, try to observe and record your child or teen's television and gaming habits, sleeping habits, eating habits, school performance, etc. Then reduce their screen time and make additional observations.
I bet you will discover that by simultaneously reducing screen time (including television, computers, video games, etc) combined with increased physical activity and improved eating habits you will notice improved attention, grades, and overall health.
Similarly, the same interventions are recommended for those with ADHD in order to alleviate ADHD symptoms.