My little sister has ADHD. It’s not a huge deal, yeah she fidgets a lot and she rarely ever hears anything I say but she lives a normal life save for having to take a pill before she goes off to school. But ever since I was little I always wondered how she got it. Was it genetics? Was it contagious? I remember when I asked my dad when we were little and he told me, “it’s because she watched T.V. when she should have been doing her homework, maybe you’ll listen to me now.” And honestly, little 10 year old me was scared to the bone. I didn’t want to have to take a pill every morning and my mom always got irritated with my sister when she wouldn’t listen to her, I didn’t want that. Eventually I got over the fear of getting ADHD, which is absurd in all aspects, but I still wonder if watching T.V. can directly cause ADHD.
A cross sectional research study used the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to determine hyperactivity as a result of the amount of television children ages 1 to 3 watched daily. The study concluded that for the 1278 children at age 1 and the 1345 children at age 3, ten percent had attention issues at age 7. Records state, “In a logistic regression model, hours of television viewed per day at both ages 1 and 3 was associated with attention problems at age 7 (1.09 [1.03-1.15] and 1.09 [1.02 – 1.16]), respectively.”
The study concluded that exposure to television early in a child’s life is linked to hyperactivity and attention problems at age 7. I believe that to like television exposure to hyperactivity is reasonable. With video games and T.V. shows nowadays, none of the content is remotely slow moving or mentally relaxing. But, what if children are exposed to more television later in life? If a child watches a significant amount of television at age 7, but rarely watched any at the age of 1 or 3, is he still subject to the same probability of forming an attention deficit disorder?
A different study in 2007 compared television watching in a group of children with A.D.H.D. and a group of children without A.D.H.D. In this study, experts found that the environment the child was surrounded n had a big effect on the comprehension of televised stories. Researchers found that although children with A.D.H.D. could recall facts and the plot line just as well as kids without A.D.H.D. could, they had a harder time comprehending the purpose of the narrative and what was most important .
So, does television help in causing A.D.H.D.? Somewhat. Can television be the only reason some children develop A.D.H.D.? Certainly not. Although these studies were done on children at a very young age or on children who had already been diagnosed. These leaves me to wonder if children at the ages of 7 to 9 were exposed to the same amount of television as those at the ages of 1 to 3, are they likely to develop A.D.H.D. at the age of 13?