questionsis technology causing kids and adults to have add…


I'm going to preface this with saying I hate sweeping generalizations like this. People have different interests and it doesn't always represent the view of the whole.

1. For older movies. How older of movies are we talking about here? It could be the kids you are watching the movies with don't find the movies entertaining. Just because it is a comedy or action film doesn't mean everyone is going to like it. I like newer movies and older movies, but only certain ones. How old are these kids you are referring to?

2. I've played Pong but have never been a huge of it. I'm sorry, it's a boring game and I personally would rather read a book than play the game. However, I would say the same thing about several newer games as well.

I think a better question is, can people sit down and read a book? Books generally do not have the same kind of attention grabbing.

I just think generations change and the next generation will not find the same things as enjoyable as the previous.


I blame environmental factors (chemicals, heavy metals) and food additives (MSG Aspartame, GMO corn products and many others) for a lot of todays problems. Diet changes and protecting ourselves from environmental problems could improve things but by the time symptoms show the damage is usually done and undoing it is an almost impossible challenge.


Considering the amount of constant stimuli in today's society vs. yesteryear, it's not a fair comparison. Pong was thrilling when it first came out, because nothing like that had been done before. Now, toddlers are playing and winning Angry Birds before they speak in full sentences, pong just doesn't live up to that level of stimulation. Each generation is more stimulated than the last. So every older generation remembers things being "simpler" and believes the new generation to be less able to focus.

My question - are the people with ADD/ADHD symptoms simply adapting at a faster rate to the new level of stimuli? Or are they mal-adaptive? Either way, progress will keep adding to and changing the stimuli we experience each day.


ADD is a symptom that is triggered by stimuli(or the lack of) but the stimuli are not the cause of the disease they just highlight that something is wrong or out of balance in the brain. Technology is showing us that something is wrong and it is up to us to fix the underlying problem.


@mybestuser1: Ah yes, that is surely the right thing to do.
Blame things you don't understand instead of trying to educate yourself about extremely complex problems.
Guess it works for most, doesn't it?


Having children watch Spongebob negatively impacts their ability to color within the lines of things. The internet and video games have contributed to a culture of instant gratification which messes with dopamine release in the brain and acts the same way as chemical addiction. This non-chemical addiction has some of the same symptoms as OCD, AD/HD, anxiety disorders, and several other disorders.
Watched a TED talk on it recently (though it focused more on the effects of pornography) that briefly addressed this topic.


It's an interesting idea, and you're not the first to notice it, @andydoug.

I see it as a genuine meta-change in the way people approach things, and in the way brains react. I do not know whether I can say that this is a bad change, or good, however. It isn't the first time that outside stimuli have had a profound effect on the way our brains work, and how we approach problems. It's just the first time that we've all had a discussion over it.

The printing press, and the sudden availability of printed matter, had an effect on a large portion of the population, including the dissemination of heretofore heretical ideas, and our world today owes much to the ability of people to share their thoughts, and to teach new ideas and methods.

Is there a change? Yes, I believe there is, but this change will come, for good or ill, whether we want it or not.

So it goes.


@stryker4526: While I like Snowcrash the book I still think that most of the symptoms are caused by problems in the human brain. Some of these problems are there when we are born and others are caused by lead, mercury, msg, aspartame, etc. Visual and Audio stimulation can adversely affect us but the effects are usually short term for the duration of the actual stimulation unless an underlying condition is triggered. You are what you eat, while trite is also true and a lot of these modern diseases are caused by environmental factors in our food, air and water.


Before I forget...

Shrdlu says that ADD/ADHD is tremendously over-diagnosed, and we will look back on this as one of the bigger tragedies inflicted on the children of today, especially little boys.


I claim no profound knowledge on this issue. Will say that television had a distinct and lasting effect on how people perceive, receive information. (Marshall McLuhan, The Message is the Media?)

It also, at least to me, seemed to be the beginning of a rather passive type of receiving entertainment, education, enjoyment, etc. Right or wrong, this is nothing new. It's how you use it.


Read your food labels. PS the Milk industry wants to be able to put aspartame in milk without putting it on the label. We risk ADD/ADHD when food producers are playing with chemicals to fool the brain into thinking something is different from what it really is.


@shrdlu: So agree. Though, did not realize it was mostly boys. Reflecting...I do not know of any girls; do personally know of several boys.

FWTW. My opinion? Unsolicited and probably unwelcome: It's the disease/illness/whatever du jour. Has been for many years now. You may not agree. I do understand that. Give them ritalin, right? Sad.


I think you are on to someth... Sorry, text message... Where was I? You have a valid poin... Sorry, email... What was I saying? I feel that you may be correc... Sorry, phone call... I think you... Sorry, IM... So where was... Sorry Skype... Oh look, a squirrel!


My son has ADHD, along with other challenges, It is real. I fought the diagnosis for a long time as I allowed myself to be convinced that it was just the diagnosis du jour. It is occasionally misdiagnosed, I'm sure, but I got involved in advocacy and support programs for those with learning disabilities and mental health challenges and have seen first hand the impact that ADHD can have, as well as the improvements that can be found with proper assessment and treatment.

Unfortunately, many people who do not have ADHD manage to get their hands on the medications. This does not mean that these medications are, themselves, evil or unneccesary, just that there are idiots out there who will snort or pop anything. Also unfortunately there are those who believe that mental illness of any kind is a myth, and some of these people are high-profile enough to get media attention for their anti-psychiatry crusade. As a result, many people who need help do not seek it.

Too close to home.



@belyndag: I agree with your sentiments completely.
I work in the mental health industry and let me tell you, you'd have to be some kind of ignoramus or maybe just a moron to believe that there is no such thing as mental illness. While I do believe ADHD is over-diagnosed, when people actually have it, it can be devastating. It's not just having a short attention span or being hyperactive or switching between tasks quickly and often, it's an actual inability to concentrate on tasks to such a degree that it actually prevents you from living normally. It's kind of like OCD in that regard. People think it's some kind of hip thing to have, so they say things like "oh I'm so OCD/ADD/ADHD sometimes" without realizing at all what actually happens when you have any of those things.


@belyndag: I am sorry. Did not intend to offend those who are struggling w/this. Only wanted to say....this is a 'new' mental illness. Well, actually, it's NOT really new, and IMO not a mental illness. But I'm not a professional, so feel free to ignore my opinions. Perhaps, over-diagnosed? An excuse for many? Maybe.

When I was a young child, someone who couldn't 'pay attention,' etc. was just considered a pita. Most that I knew outgrew that. Without medication, labels or psychiatric help. Could it be a personality trait? Yes, I think so. Not worse than most. Is it difficult to cope with? I'm sure it is. Have an adult grandson who "had" this as a child. He's now w/o any meds, and quite successful.


I have first-hand experience with ADHD, and it's important to

Where did I put my keys?


Good example of Iatrogenesis at work


@mybestuser1: I'm not sure what all the hate is about, but I tend to agree with you.
I'm not sure if the environmental factors are the only reason for the increase in things such as ADD, ADHD, autism, and the like, but I believe it is a factor.


I grew up with a rather extreme case of ADHD but was not medicated until college (parents in denial). My grades were fine in high school unless I has to really focus. I will say that I rarely suffered from the distracted "oh look a squirrel" cliche. Instead, I often found it difficult to learn in the ways everyone else did. I studied the way I was shown to but it didn't work and so of course no one believed I was at all. This I found was the real battle, adapting to do things the same way everyone else does. This isn't always necessary we're all individuals and can learn in our own ways but things like exams had to be exactly the same for everyone. I spent time in councelors offices time with ADHD coaches and even disability services at my university. I found that they all looked for ways to get me out of things and for excuses for me instead of helping me adjust and fix what needed to be fixed. I hate asking for any kind of help and getting to that point was terrible.


continued. (sorry) When I finally did ask for help no one was able to give me what I was looking for (help, not excuses). I took adderall which helped on exams and such but I hated taking it. I wasn't myself while I had it in my system and I tried multiple exams without it, failing horribly of course. I finally reached a point where I was either dropping out or fixing this problem forever. Through days of research and about 10 books I finally put together a plan and, with some major adjustments along the way, found some methods that worked. I graduated college (civil engineering) and am now in a job that I'm very good at and love to go to. ADHD is very real, medication doesn't always work, when it does it may not be the best answer, and it's not as fun as it sounds.

to be concluded.... ugh i know


I was born with this problem. It was not because I was crazy, stupid, or lazy. In fact I worked harder than most and passed my EI two years before I was advised to take it. No amount of video games or changing television angles causes the real problems someone with ADHD faces. If you or your family are having problems with ADHD I have some great material and maybe some advice I be more than happy to share.


@nmchapma: I had some of this problem in school. I learn, but I learn differently. I did fine in math as long as they didn't ask me to show my work, because I simply got to the correct answer using a different path than was being taught. I understand from someone who is an education professional that they now recognize that most people solve problems, especially math, in a linear fashion, and that's how it is taught. But a small percentage of people use a spatial problem solving skill which leads to correct answers using a non-linear approach. These kids have trouble in school even though they are bright and produce correct answers because they are not on the same mental pathway as the teachers and other students. After attempting to describe to him how I solve a math problem he said I definitely fit into the latter category. Now that I am in the real world it serves me very well as I am able to solve complex (non-math) problems in my work as I naturally "think outside the box".


I've always suspected it was due to incorrect stimula in early (Pre-K) brain development. I haven't seen a study on it however, so it remains just opinion.

j5 j5

@j5: I believe it has more to do with giving all children the same type of stimuli instead of the [b][i]wrong[/i][/b] type of stimuli.

edit: damn. that never works. does deals.woot not follow the same format as normal woot?


@nmchapma: use single * for italics, double * for bold, triple ** for bold italics.

anyway, I'm not following. The pediatrics...board...thingy cautions against stimuli with rapidly changing images during early brain development. Think Yo Gabba Gabba vs. Mr. Rogers.

j5 j5

@j5: I see that making a difference in the efficiency of a childs learning processes but not the fundmental pathways those processes follow. I don't think certain stimuli teach a child to learn differently, I think they either inhibit or expand those inherent learning processes.

I'm not sure you can "learn" to be ADHD, though I do agree you can make it better or worse no matter what stage of life you are in.

I'm not pschologist, I truely have no idea how focus and @Moondrakes spacial problem solving process tie into the learning process.

Thanks, BTW :-)


@Moondrake: I love the math problem solving story. My son was kicked out of five day care centers before he turned 5. At that point we were desparate and allowed him to be placed in a special ed pre-school. On our way to school one morning, I told him that he was so busy I needed six hands to keep up with him, but that would be too many fingernails to keep polished. "Yeah," he said, "about 30."


When he was four we had been told that he was autistic, that he would lose his verbal and toileting skills and that we would have to institutionalize him. We were also told that we needed to seek genetic counselling. (I was 8 months pregnant at the time.) He was in a special ed. preschool and had only been taught the basics of 1+1 and 2+2 but here he was with the answer to 6x5! When I caught my breath, I asked him how he got that number.

"Simple," he said. "15 + 15."

Again, huh?


@stryker4526: I have to admit that I am guilty of the "oh I'm so OCD/ADD/ADHD sometimes" comments. Just Saturday I was volunteering at an Autism Awareness event and kept joking about my OCD tendancies coming in handy while helping organize things. I should know better, but I do it anyway. There's a part of me that wants to make the lesser mental health challenge symptoms non-threatening to others, I guess.

As to the original question, @andydoug! did not ask whether technology CAUSES AD/HD, but rather asked whether it could cause ADD-like symptoms. I would think that the answer to that is yes, at least in the short-term. If someone, anyone is deeply immersed in a video game it can certainly be difficult to detach from that game, and it could easily take some time for the gamer's attention to refocus on something that doesn't have all the flashing lights and special effects. I'm not a gamer but I get a similar effect from a good book. My point is that the effect is temporary.


@gmwhit: I wasn't offended. I have just spent the past 25 years advocating and can't stay off of my soapbox.

And speaking of my soapbox, I can't stop myself from clarifying one thing. Medical Science first documented what be now call AD/HD 1798 in a medical textbook by physician Alexander Crichton of Cambridge. It has been called many things over the years, including Minimal Brain Dysfunction (my late BIL had that diagnosis when he was young). It will probably go through a few more name changes in the future. (Russell Barkley is promoting a name that will reflect the Executive Function Deficits of most people with AD/HD).

And I guess that's one of the problems with the AD/HD label. Many people think of those with this diagnosis as hyperactive and/or innattentive, only. These might be the most conspicuous symptoms, but are really only the tip of the ADD/ADHD Iceberg.


What is slightly bothersome, but only due to a lack of real understanding on OP's part, is that the symptoms he is reffering to as ADHD are, as @belyndag's image shows, only the very tip of the iceberg. Symptoms which may not even be present in someone with ADD have become the stereotype of the disease. It's pretty annoying to hear someone joke about having any disease they don't understand.

edit: Yes, I know OP's post wasn't a joke, I'm just venting about those I see doing it daily.


Many of the symptoms in that image are real but are also used as excuses. A child cannot be asked to display the discipline it takes to control many of these symptoms but and adult can. It takes a lot of work to gain the necessary control over these problems. "brushes with the law", "doesn't have skills to plan ahead", "speeding tickets" are all adult problems for which ADD is an excuse. Without making the concious effort to control this disease these problems will occur but whose fault is it really?


@nmchapma: Now that most of the furor has died down over this, I wanted to encourage you to post your material and advice that you'd offered up, earlier. This post is an excellent spot to do so, since it'll be found via google, and can provide good resources for those who are looking for alternatives to the Adderall/Ritalin cycle.

It's a sad thing to note that not only do children who are just being children get stuck with medication that turns them into docile zombies, but that the kids who should be diagnosed and helped are still not being reached. My heart goes out to you, and to @belyndag, and @moondrake.

Actual ADHD is visible in brain functions, and the medical literature reflects this. It is also not something you grow out of, although this used to be an assumption. I have a friend (female, and in her fifties), and who still takes Ritalin. She's successful, happily married, and has a daughter (who does not have ADHD).

Please, post your suggestions, @nmchapma.