Gaming Linked To ADHD In Children?

A new study published in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly suggests that children who play a lot of video games might actually be doing harm to their attention spans.  The survey followed 1,323 elementary school students for over a year and found that those who play games more than two hours a day are 67 % more likely to have attention problems such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which is a similar correlation as found in other studies surrounding television consumption.

However, the study concedes it can only prove correlation, not causation and goes on to say that there are holes in this theory – as video games require concentration and focus which is something someone with ADHD will lack.

Of course, this hasn’t stopped the tabloids jumping all over this like flies on poop.  Metro are running with the headline ‘Video games are linked to ADHD’ – and promptly goes on to list all the negatives from the study, and none of the actual conclusions.

Speaking personally, I’ve been playing video games for twenty three years now and yet I manage to function perfectly well in society.  Are these studies a valuable resource, or just a waste of money?

Source: Gamasutra

38 Comments

  1. wow, surely the british media are not publishing a story that bad mouths video games?! What has the world come to!

    • I’m shocked too – the metro has always been well regarded as a source of reliable and fair journalism.

  2. I’ve been playing games for as long as I can remember. I do find it hard to concentrate on doing work. I blame ADHD :P

    • haha, me to, seems like id rather play games more…odd that ;)

      All the AD stuff is stupid, if the person plays games and does real socialising, ie: sports teams ect, then they should develop with no difference to a child who dosent play games at all. Gaming is like anything else, to much is bad for you. Even to much healthy food and exercise if bad for you.

      Heres my study on the situation, very simple;
      Its balance, if i did nothing but eat fatty foods and drink fizzy drinks 24/7, id be fat. If i did nothing but play violent games and films 24/7 then ill be a violent outcast?!?! Job done, another case study over.

      Now do us a favor, go do some real research. Lots of illnesses left to cure you know

      • “Now do us a favor, go do some real research”

        They did, but the media is twisting it to get their headlines. The bit about correlation and causation in the conclusion besically says. “There is a connection, but we don’t know that games cause adhd, it might just as well be that adhd makes you like games”

    • I’m not sure if you’re joking or not here mate. The fact is, i do find it difficult to sit and concentrate on boring tasks at work for too long. I’ve been playing games for 20 years. There may well be some cause and effect going on. Why are we all so quick to dismiss it? I love gaming as much as anyone else on this site, but it is possible that it does have some negative effects on us. Every time Tsa publishes an article like this, all anyone ever says is “i play a lot of games and i’m ok, it can’t be true” obviously the Tsa readership is not proportionally representative of the gaming population. We all obviously enjoy reading, and gaming. I teach, and have done for many years, and increasingly i’m hearing my students go on about all night sessions on call of duty or fifa, almost every one of my students has an xbox or ps3, and they play them too much. Why can people not see that is a problem? Yes it’s bad parenting for letting them play it too much, but we can’t just blame the parents. Besides, it doesn’t matter whether the parents are to blame or not, the fact is, gaming is negatively affecting our youth, in one way or another.

  3. Tabloids.. Twisting the truth? Surely not.

  4. I think ive got mild ADHD,especially when im in lessons and trying to do homework! But ive also recently noticed that in the average evening of gaming, ill be playing more than 1 game. It used to always be R6V2 which I could play for hours on end, but now I find my self switching disks quite a bit. Maybe this is due to ADHD, or maybe im just getting bored of the games I own – I don’t know.

    • Just getting bored man =) When I bought Red Dead Redemption, I played that for days before swithcing to anything. Before that, I would switch disks quite often.

  5. The problem is, again, that the press just love to pick on all the negatives of any research done of video games and most of the public will never look deeper into it than the newspaper story.

    Also, games vary wildly so while a game like Halo or Killzone might negatively effect kids (who, of course, shouldn’t be playing these 18 rated titles anyway) games like Monkey Island, Blue Toad, Flower or any PixelJunk title are a totally different experience and must have a very different effect on the brain

  6. The term ADHD is not the same as it meant ten or so years ago.

    Through whatever changes in our media and culture, children’s attention spans have decreased rapidly. Most likely due to the fact that everything is presented to them in short sharp bursts now.

    Video games themselves often provide constant stimulation so can entertain children with shorter attention spans.

    Either way, I am going to get my hands on the paper and have a read of it on the bus.

    • Totally agree. It is much easier for people in general to get information fast so don’t have any need to read a book to get the answers.
      Another problem is bad parenting skills too.
      Yes, ADHD does exist but doubt the number of parents asking their Doctors to diagnose their child with it, spend time engaging their child in play or other fun activities.

  7. It’s the Titchmarsh effect!

  8. Obviously this report fails to mention th… oh, let’s go ride bikes!

    • Lol! This post is really

      • Why do you guys fail to complete full sente

  9. Urgh, American doctors talking about ADHD again :/ Should be banned from discussing the subject, it’s such a conflict for most of them. Drug companies reward them for handing out things like Ritalin like it’s candy so a worrying number of American kids spend their days stumbling around in a stupefied zombie-esque state. As this number has increased, folks have asked why the number is constantly rising. TV and now video games are easy to blame, and more preferable to folks perhaps questioning their parenting techniques and their doctor’s honesty.

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