Smartphones Are Giving Us ADHD-Like Symptoms

Participants were more anxious, bored, and inattentive during normal phone use
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2016 12:11 PM CDT
Smartphones Are Giving Us ADHD-Like Symptoms

You may not have ADHD, but your smartphone could certainly be making you feel like you do, according to a study published this month. Researchers took 221 students at the University of British Columbia and split them into two groups. For one week, half the students turned their phones to "do not disturb" and put them out of reach and out of sight as much as possible while the rest kept using their phones as normal. The groups switched for the next week. “The results were clear: more frequent phone interruptions made people less attentive and more hyperactive," researcher Kostadin Kushlev writes in Quartz.

Researchers came to that conclusion by asking participants how often they experienced 18 symptoms—trouble listening, restlessness, careless mistakes, etc.—associated with ADHD during the two-week experiment. According to Vice, the students—none of whom had been diagnosed with ADHD—were more distracted, anxious, and inattentive and more often bored during the week they were using their phones. And while smartphones aren't giving people ADHD, the study concludes they are causing ADHD-like symptoms. “These findings should concern us," Kushlev writes in Quartz. "Smartphones could be harming the productivity, relationships, and well-being of millions.” Luckily, there's an easy fix: Turn off your notifications and take a break from your phone whenever possible. (More smartphones stories.)

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