For my final paper I will be studying the effects of technology on ADHD. The rate of kids diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in the past decade has greatly increased, along with the usage of technologies. This topic interests me because of the changes that I have noticed in my own life, and in people’s lives around me from technology. While I do not have ADHD, in the past few years I have noticed that I feel my attention span on items or ideas away from my phone or computer slipping. Just the other day, I was on a walk with my friend who was discussing the happenings of her day with me, and for no reason I couldn’t help but to scroll through a few social media sites on my phone. While I feel like checking my phone may be due to slight habit of checking my phone frequently, I also felt disappointed in myself. My friend was clearly telling me something and I was interested in it- yet after two minutes of her talking I feel like I subconsciously became bored with her story, though I was still listening.
In the article “Does Technology Cause ADHD?” (http://www.everydayhealth.com/adhd-awareness/does-technology-cause-adhd.aspx) it is stated that a belief of many researchers is that media overstimulates the brain and a child’s mental processing, possibly being a major source of ADHD cases. While ADHD is based off of genetics, environmental factors, and the amount of technology usage can increase the chances of a child being diagnosed with ADHD.
In this article from Time magazine, it states that 1 in 10 kids have been diagnosed with ADHD (http://techland.time.com/2013/07/08/a-nation-of-kids-with-gadgets-and-adhd/). In this article, it is also noted that a different type of attention is used on video games and screens than the type of attention used when learning in a classroom setting. By “winning” video games, the brain is rewarded with a release of dopamine, allowing the child’s brain to chemically be giving him a natural, chemical boost. The hyperactivity component of this disorder stems from behaviors noted in people such as focusing on one task and the ability to control one’s impulses. ADHD has a genetic basis, but the rate of screen time in a child’s life has also been found to directly correlate to the chance of them being diagnosed with ADHD.
I feel that many of these symptoms are significant among most people today. While I feel less attached to my devices than many of my friends seem to, I know that my usage of technology has greatly increased over the past 5 years, and I also feel that my attention span on most things that are happening right in front of me is much less. I know many of my friends have also become less attentive to the world outside of technology, and more focused on what’s popping up on their screens. There is no cure for ADHD, or at least not yet, but I feel that it’s important that we become aware of the negative effects of technology in our life. As we keep increasing our attachment to technology, we are decreasing our ability to focus on real life and the world away from technology.