Researchers connect prolonged digital media use, ADHD symptoms
- According to a recent study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, prolonged use of digital media can increase the odds of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in adolescents, NPR reports.
- The two-year study tracked 2,587 10th-graders in Los Angeles schools who initially showed no ADHD symptoms, but those with higher digital media use were more likely to exhibit those symptoms at the end of the study.
- The participating teens were surveyed every six months regarding how often they performed 14 different online activities that included texting, posting on social media, and streaming videos or music, with those reporting frequent participation in at least six of the activities being more likely to demonstrate ADHD symptoms.
As NPR points out, the results of this study serve as additional evidence of the potential health risks of excessive exposure to digital media alongside other recent research connecting teenage depression and social media use. And it must be taken into consideration by administrators when new digital tools and resources are considered.
Ultimately, technology in the classroom should serve as a supplementary tool to learning as opposed to the be-all, end-all solution that delivers it. As ISTE CEO Richard Culatta said in 2015, educational technology does students no good if it simply takes the traditional way of doing things and replicates it on a digital screen. And in that same vein, it also doesn't serve students well from a critical thinking or creativity standpoint if it's seen as the solution to problems as opposed to a tool that can be used to arrive at the solution.
As educators learn how to apply these new approaches and skill sets in their classrooms, administrators will have to continue investing in necessary training on how to adjust pedagogy to avoid the pitfalls and facilitate those needs.
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