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Atten Defic Hyperact Disord. 2011 Dec;3(4):327-34. doi: 10.1007/s12402-011-0065-z. Epub 2011 Sep 24.

The screens culture: impact on ADHD.

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Children's and Women's Health Centre of BC, University of British Columbia, 4500 Oak St., PO Box 178, Vancouver, BC, V6H 3N1, Canada.


Children's use of electronic media, including Internet and video gaming, has increased dramatically to an average in the general population of roughly 3 h per day. Some children cannot control their Internet use leading to increasing research on "internet addiction." The objective of this article is to review the research on ADHD as a risk factor for Internet addiction and gaming, its complications, and what research and methodological questions remain to be addressed. The literature search was done in PubMed and Psychinfo, as well as by hand. Previous research has demonstrated rates of Internet addiction as high as 25% in the population and that it is addiction more than time of use that is best correlated with psychopathology. Various studies confirm that psychiatric disorders, and ADHD in particular, are associated with overuse, with severity of ADHD specifically correlated with the amount of use. ADHD children may be vulnerable since these games operate in brief segments that are not attention demanding. In addition, they offer immediate rewards with a strong incentive to increase the reward by trying the next level. The time spent on these games may also exacerbate ADHD symptoms, if not directly then through the loss of time spent on more developmentally challenging tasks. While this is a major issue for many parents, there is no empirical research on effective treatment. Internet and off-line gaming overuse and addiction are serious concerns for ADHD youth. Research is limited by the lack of measures for youth or parents, studies of children at risk, and studies of impact and treatment.

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