I love technology. Computers, tablets, phones, and game systems. A lot of fun and very interesting. I know what I am about to write seems a little boring and unpopular these days. These wonderful tools can cause problems. We take care of a lot of people, both kids and adults, dealing with ADHD, anxiety, depression, addiction, post concussion syndrome and insomnia. Almost all of them have to much screen time.

What is screen time? It is basically using anything with a screen for any length of time. The biggest problem usually stems from surfing the internet and gaming for countless hours. ADHD kids and adults are often very stimulated by screen time. There parents, peers and spouses are often amazed at how well they can hyper focus while playing a game or checking out something on the web.

One study in 2011 found teens that played video games or used the internet 5 hours or more per day had a much higher risk for sadness and suicidal thoughts. A study performed by the CDC found that female video game players reported higher levels of depression than those who did not play. Another study found a higher amount of substance abuse, sleep problems, emotional problems and anxiety in those that played video games.

Too much screen time can potentially do many things. It is believed that screen time can lower the function of the frontal lobe (the boss and filter of the brain) and stimulate the limbic area of the brain (the caveman part). When the limbic area of the brain has too much stimulation, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior can become a problem. Sustained focus can also become a problem. Emotional control can also suffer.

I am a realist. Screens are not going anywhere. It is good for all of us to limit our screen time (non-work) on a regular basis. In most cases, especially with children, less than an hour a day is good. In most cases of ADHD/ADD and autism, limiting screen time is a must. A screen free day for kids every once in a while is a good idea too. Most kids don’t get enough exercise these days and don’t get outside enough. Our body was made to move. Sitting around looking at the screen for too long can hurt almost every function of our body.

If we can help in any way, feel free to contact us at The Martin Clinic at 770.237.3970 or info@themartinclinic.com. Our main office is located in Duluth, Georgia (across from The Infinite Energy Arena).