Health In Focus
  • Lack of attention and hyperactivity have often ascribed to be the traits of millions of people who are addicted to their phones. Scientists have now proved this with evidence.
  • A two-week experimental study has shown that smartphone interruptions can cause ADHD-like symptoms. The research has figured out how the constant inflow of smartphone notifications can influence people's minds!
  • Constant digital stimulation might contribute to attention deficit which is a growing problem in the modern world.
  • You can minimize the harmful effects of overstimulation by the use of smartphones just by turning your phones to silent mode and away from easy reach.
Smartphones have changed the world! With the Internet in our pockets, all of us today are bombarded with digital notifications every now and then and wherever we go!
Your Smartphone Might be Responsible for ADHD!

Millions of people today have become smartphone addicts and here's what the polls say:
  • About 95% of smartphone users check their phones during social gatherings
  • 7 out of 10 people used them at work
  • 1 in 10 checked their phones during sex
  • On an average, a person spends 2 hours daily on their smartphones
While our lives are becoming almost impossible without smartphones, it has always been debated as to how their use could affect your health. Now to add to the growing list, a recent study has found that you are likely to suffer ADHD-like symptoms from smartphone interruptions. The stereotypes about smartphone addicts being attention deficit might not be inaccurate anymore. Apparently, smartphone notifications do cause ADHD-like symptoms.

The research scientists from the University of Virginia and The University of British Columbia have sought to understand how the constant inflow of smartphone notifications can influence people's minds. The lead scientist Kostadin Kushlev along with his colleagues Jason Prolux and W. Dunn conducted a two-week long experimental study which is reportedly the first ever evidence to support this fact. The findings were presented at The Human-Computer Interaction conference held in San Jose, California.

During the first week of the study, 221 students at the University of British Columbia, Canada were drawn from the rest and assigned for a week to maximize their phone interruptions by turning the notification alerts on and keeping their phones within easy reach. And during the second week, the students were asked to minimize their smartphone's interruptions by turning off their notification alerts. They were also asked to keep their phones out of easy reach.Towards the end of each week, the students were asked to answer a questionnaire which assesses inattention and hyperactivity when smartphone alerts were switched on.

The scientists observed that the participants who had notification alerts on with their smartphones on "Loud" or "Vibrate" mode showed more symptoms of hyperactivity and inattention. The results suggest that people might experience attention deficit hyperactivity disorder-like symptoms such as getting distracted, fidgeting, restlessness, difficulty in performing quiet activities and tasks, difficulty in concentrating and getting bored easily when trying to concentrate. By serving as an immediate source of distraction, smartphones could be contributing to these symptoms.

Constant Digital Stimulation by Smartphone Notifications:

The study has revealed that the culprit behind the increasing deficit of attention is the overstimulation by smartphones. The results suggest that even amongst those who have not been diagnosed with ADHD previously, the symptoms might occur due to this constant digital stimulation.

However, the lead author has pointed out that ADHD is a complex neuro-developmental disorder which does not occur simply as a result of smartphone addiction. The study suggests that neither smartphones cause ADHD nor does reducing smartphone notifications treat ADHD. But, the key findings suggest that constant digital stimulation might be a contributing factor to ADHD-like symptoms.

Here's how you can reduce the negative effects of the digital stimulation:
  • Stop being on the look out for your smartphone to ring or beep a notification
  • Switch to silent mode so that you do not pay attention to notification alerts.
  • Keep your smartphones out of sight and out of easy reach.
Similar Studies Based on Smartphone Addiction:

In 2014, a study conducted by the Third Military Medical University, China revealed that there is a strong association between mobile phone usage and inattention. In another study conducted by UCL researchers in the year 2015, it was revealed that smartphone use can contribute to inattention deafness where the users experience temporary deafness as they tend to concentrate on their phones instead of their surroundings.

Source: Medindia

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