Do Mobile Devices Contribute to Attention Deficit Disorder?
Another change that we are seeing developing in today’s young people is an increase in Attention Deficit Disorders. Is it possible that mobile devices and A.D.D. are interconnected? Some experts contend that they are.
Here is some convincing evidence for the link between mobile devices and A.D.D.
- The Case of the Pregnant Mice.
Researchers at Yale found a causal link between cell phone exposure and hyperactivity in mice. Pregnant mice were exposed to an uninterrupted call during their brief gestation period—seventeen days. Yes, most people do not stay on the same call for seventeen days, but we must remember that human moms are pregnant for nine whole months. The babies were born with a decreased ability to filter distractions and short attention spans—traits shared with people who suffer Attention Deficit Disorder.
Maybe you are unfazed by a study on small rodents and want to know if these results can be replicated on human subjects. Well, sit tight. It’s been done.
- Cell phones and the Unborn Child.
Two large studies have shown that pregnant women who use mobile phones two to three times per day were at least 50% more likely to have children that have behavioral problems such as Attention Deficit Disorder.
This risk is increased substantially if that child uses a cell phone before the age of seven years old. In fact, the likelihood of that child developing behavior problems increases to a whopping 80 %. A second study revealed similar findings, but the numbers showed a 40% risk due to exposure in utero and 50% due to the actual child’s cell phone usage.
- Texting and Attention Spans.
Today’s kids seem to be incapable of functioning without their cell phones. Whether they’re in the movie theatre, crossing a busy street, or out to lunch with friends—the phone seems to monopolize their attention. Is this apparent addiction altering our children’s minds?
According to neuroscientist, Baroness Susan Greenfield, texting is changing the way our kids’ brains work. The crux of Greenfield’s argument is that the immediate gratification provided by cell phones, Twitter and other instant communications tools have made our kids expect the rest of the world to work that way. She concludes that this has lowered attention spans significantly—a symptom of A.D.D.
- Quick but Wrong.
Yes, kids nowadays have lightning fast fingers—but, unfortunately, their minds lag way behind their digits. A Melbourne epidemiologist did a study involving eleven to fourteen-year-olds. His research showed that kids that texted the most gave the quickest answers to IQ test questions, but their responses were more inaccurate.
No matter how we feel about mobile devices, they are here to stay. The trick is to find a way that humans and modern technology can peaceably live together without our techno gadgets taking over our lives. If you’re a mom-to-be, try to avoid picking up a cell. If your child is overly attached to their mobile device, rein them in. And get them back to communicating the old-fashioned way—by moving their mouths and making sounds come out.
Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer and avid blogger who possesses the attention span of a gnat on Redbull. But this happened to her long before cell phones. As a self-employed writer, she has found that computer bookkeeping programs have been a life-saver, especially at tax time.