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Heavy Social Media Use = ADHD Symptoms in Teens?

Heavy social media use may produce symptoms of ADHD in teens who have no previous ADHD symptoms.

That was the conclusion of a 24-month study published on July 17, 2018 in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) in which researchers followed 2,587 adolescent boys and girls aged 15 and 16 in Los Angeles schools. The teens’ most frequent digital media activity was checking social media. The authors wrote:

“High-frequency engagement in each additional digital media activity at baseline was associated with significantly higher odds of having symptoms of ADHD across follow-ups.”

Study authors also stated that further research was needed to assess whether there is a causal relationship between these two factors.

However, if you’re a parent who doesn’t want to wait for conclusive proof, you may be looking for some ways you can reduce – and better control – your child’s social media screen time.

Here are five paraphrased tips for doing so from Barbara Greenberg, Ph.D from an article published in the Huffington Post:

  1. Model a balanced daily schedule yourself. You can’t expect your kids to unplug if you aren’t doing it.
  2. Charge your child’s cell phone outside of their bedroom, so he or she can’t get up during the night to use it.
  3. Set a limit on the amount of time your child is permitted to spend on the phone. Be prepared for pushback, but stand your ground.
  4. Get your child’s passwords, so that you can monitor their social media accounts.
  5. Make it clear that social media is a privilege, not a right (and be prepared to make them shut it off).

If you are concerned that your child might have an attention problem, Center for Brain can help. We offer a free consultation as well as ways to assess what the actual problem may be

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