WASHINGTON — Research published Tuesday in the medical journal JAMA shows teens who spend a lot of time on their screens can exhibit symptoms of ADHD.
The study looked at about 2,500 10th graders in Los Angeles over a two-year period. The teens showed no significant signs of ADHD in the beginning, but by the end, a group of high frequency users did.
Symptoms of ADHD include the inability to focus or complete a task, hyperactivity, impulsiveness or restlessness.
“That’s showing us that’s going to hurt them in their future,” said Dr. Laura Luzietti, a pediatrician at Every Child Pediatrics in Denver.
She said the study is meaningful, and further shows the importance of establishing a media plan with kids, limiting their screen time and educating them about possible impacts of over use.
However, she doesn’t want parents to panic.
“I don’t think that parents need to rush their kids to the pediatrician to get evaluated for ADHD because they are obsessed with their cellphones, because a lot are, but I do think this is something to pay attention to and be cautious about,” Luzietti said.
The study showed an association, not a cause, and doctors say more research is needed.
ADHD affects about 5 percent of children in the U.S.