If your teen is constantly online, it may simply be a sign of the times. But it might also be a red flag for deeper issues.
Teens who are heavy users of social media appear to be at greater risk of developing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), according to a study published in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) this week.
But researchers cautioned that kids with ADHD - a disorder characterised by difficulty paying attention and a tendency toward impulsive behaviour - might simply be more likely to seek out excessive screen-time.
The study looked at the self-reported device use of 3000 Los Angeles-area high-school students. More than half (54%) admitted they were high-frequency users of social media.
Researchers also asked students to rate themselves on 18 ADHD symptoms, nine of them relating to inattention and nine to hyperactivity/impulsivity.
Having a few symptoms of inattention, forgetfulness or antsiness does NOT mean your child has ADHD. And keep in mind it is one of the most over-diagnosed of all childhood disorders.
When students were followed up at intervals over two years, the heaviest device users were more than twice as likely to show “significant” symptoms of ADHD as the lightest users.
But whether excessive device use is a cause or a symptom of ADHD remains unclear, and the study concluded - as such studies invariably do - that “further research is needed.”
To promote your teen's digital wellbeing, keeping lines of communication open should be your first step. Your second step? A parental control tool like Family Zone. Family Zone can help you and your teen manage screen-time cooperatively - before things get out of hand.