Our Kids Brains on Social Media

It is difficult to go anywhere these days without seeing teens staring down at a smart phone screen.  Meanwhile the epidemic of ADD and ADHD type symptoms has everyone up in arms.  These researchers asked a simple question, “Could social media use be connected with developing ADHD?”  I am not shocked by their findings of a potential link, but don’t grab your teen’s smartphone just yet.  This is just a link, a correlation, meaning that no causal influence is guaranteed.

Beyond this showing a simple correlation, the effect was mild and the methods require caution in interpreting.  Using questionnaires and self reporting can be dubious.  Hopefully, the teens provided honest answers.  Assuming they did answer truthfully, the study only showed that 15 to 16 year frequent users of social media later developed slightly higher ADHD scores.  There is no indication whether the chicken or the egg was at play here. Maybe, those with ADHD tendencies used more social media in the first place.  This seems unlikely as the teens also underwent ADHD testing before and after the time period of social media use.

Regardless, neck pain from staring down, bruised foreheads from running into unseen poles (again from staring down while walking), and driving accidents are already good reasons for all of us to evaluate our social media use (ironic as you read this on social media channels).  Possibly influencing the development of inattentiveness and hyperactivity are reasons we should encourage our teens to monitor their own time staring at the screen.

Functional MD’s like myself urge our patients to spend time with healthy, in person relationships as well as time outside in nature aware from technology.  Life needs balance if we are to guide them into a healthier, more abundant life.  Call our office for more information on how we can help you battle or prevent chronic illness with an intensive functional medicine approach at Sanctuary.


Referenced Paper

Association of Digital Media Use With Subsequent Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Among Adolescents

Chaelin K. Ra, MPH1; Junhan Cho, PhD1; Matthew D. Stone, BA2; et al



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