This blog is on a topic that I am very much passionate about. As an Occupational Therapist, I’ve come across various areas of difficulties in children/adolescents due to disorders. One of the areas I’ve been paying increased attention to is the correlation between children with ADHD, Autism and the use of gadgets, which reduces cognition.
There has been so many times which I’ve spoken to parents of children with ADHD and Autism, who come to me with questions. Such as: why is my son/daughter so glued to the TV or the tablet or iPhone/smart phone? Why don’t they pay attention to academic areas? Why is their attention solely on gadgets? And the questions go on and on.
Well, as a therapist, I am supposed to answer them with evidenced based information. And while I’m not a parent, I feel the desperate feeling in them, for more answers than what I am giving them.
As a result, I’ve gone more in depth as to finding more information on the topic via research. The biggest question I have and it seems to sum up all the questions asked by parents, why are children with ADHD so attracted to gadgets?
From my understanding while doing research, these children get a high due to an increase of dopamine (neurotransmitter) when they win a game. Look at it as if the child is being constantly rewarded. So in retrospect, its not that the child is attracted more to playing with electronics/gadgets. No, not at all. It’s more like the child does not need to use so much of his/her cognition when playing and in return they get rewards. As opposed to having the child sit and do his/her math or science homework and possibly not doing so well. So the bottom line is that these children develop an “emotional dependency” on their iPad, iPhone, TV, electronic gadgets, etc. Because to them, its easier to feel better through instant and easy rewards than to have to work harder to obtain any rewards in their academics or other activities of daily living.
My point of view in this matter is that electronics are not going anywhere, and ADHD/Autism unfortunately is still among our population. So my question is to incorporate in all these electronic games, a way in which the child’s academic skills would be addressed? Obviously that would mean that the games such as; “Minecraft” for example, might need to be tweaked here and there. But the end results would be much better than now, I think…