Smartphones make teens twice as likely to develop ADHD, experts warn

Rob Waugh
Contributor
Apps like Facebook make the devices more seductive for youngsters (Rex)

If you’re a parent debating whether to allow a young child a smartphone, new research suggests that the devices are linked to a much higher risk of ADHD.

Teenagers who frequently use phones or tablets are twice as likely to develop symptoms of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

The sheer amount of entertainment – from Facebook and Twitter, text messaging and music downloads – has made the devices more seductive for young people, the researchers warn.

The researchers monitored 2,587 young people over two years in Los Angeles County.

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Professor Adam Leventhal says, ‘We can say with confidence that teens who were exposed to higher levels of digital media were significantly more likely to develop ADHD symptoms in the future

‘This study raises concern whether the proliferation of high-performance digital media technologies may be putting a new generation of youth at risk for ADHD.’

‘What’s new is that previous studies on this topic were done many years ago, when social media, mobile phones, tablets and mobile apps didn’t exist.

‘New, mobile technologies can provide fast, high-intensity stimulation accessible all day, which has increased digital media exposure far beyond what’s been studied before.’