ADHD and Screen Time – What the Experts Say

Children with neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD have been excluded from general guidelines on screen use by the Canadian Pediatric Society because children with these disorders are at greater risk for internet addiction. Dr. Umesh Jain, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist specializing in ADHD, believes that children with ADHD should only be in front of a screen for educational purposes. He believes that screen time can be addictive for children with ADHD with the same cravings and withdrawal effect as other addictions. He also believes that it deteriorates social skills of children with Autism since they quickly become dependent on the Internet for their social interaction.  Dr. Jain states that screen time is altering the brain of children with ADHD by “softening and altering cortical structures”. He’s basing his recommendations on studies out of South Korea pointing to ADHD as the most common reason for Internet addiction under the age of 12.

Dr. Randy Kulman, a child clinical psychologist from Rhode Island, believes screen time for children with ADHD and ASD should be tailored to their learning challenges, but does recognize the increased risk to those with ADHD. Children with ADHD crave stimulation that these online interactions provide.

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