The relationship between children’s screen media use and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has long been a subject of debate. Parents, health practitioners, and scholars often express concern that children’s screen media use increases the prevalence of ADHD-related behaviors (i.e., attention problems, hyperactivity, and impulsivity). In a review of four decades of research, now published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), CcaM researchers identify what is known and what remains open for investigation.
According to the review by Ine Beyens, Patti Valkenburg, and Jessica Taylor Piotrowski, the available evidence suggests that there does exist a relationship between children’s media use and ADHD-related behaviors, albeit statistically small. However, the review also points at important gaps in the existing literature. The direction of the relationship, the boundary conditions of the relationship, and the pathway through which this relationship occurs are all largely open questions, calling for a systematic series of empirical investigations. For instance, the role of program pacing and violent content is not yet clearly understood, nor is the role of individual difference factors, including developmental, dispositional, and social factors.
Complete reference: Beyens, I., Valkenburg, P.M., & Piotrowski, J.T. (2018). Screen media use and ADHD-related behaviors in children and adolescents: Four decades of research. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.