Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity with an early onset in childhood and adolescence. Children in the general population may display various ADHD symptoms (attention problems, hyperactivity, and impulsivity) on a continuous basis. Such behavior is referred to as ADHD-related behavior and is associated with screen time (TV and video games) (Nikkelen & Valkenburg, 2014).
Screen time may be related to ADHD and ADHD-related behavior through various factors. Screen time may hinder the availability for activities that are considered to better stimulate cognitive abilities and long attention span (Nikkelen & Valkenburg, 2014). Zimmerman and Christakis (2007) emphasize that for the developing brain of infants and toddlers appropriate media attention-capturing stimulation displaces learning opportunities with low developmental value.
Children and adolescents aged 6-17 either diagnosed with ADD/ADHD or rated as having attention problems/impulsiveness were found to have a greater rate of screen time (Charmaine, Waring, Pagotod & Lemon, 2015; Gentile, Swing & Lim, 2012). Moreover, The severity of attentional symptoms appears to correspond to overall children's the Internet and video game time. ADHD was also shown to be the primary predictor for the development of the Internet addictive behavior (Weiss, Baer, Allan, Saran & Schibuk, 2011). Concurrently, data indicates that video games content adds uniquely in predicting attention problems (Gentile et al.). Swing, Gentile, Anderson, and Walsh (2010) sampled two group ages: 3-5 graders and late adolescent/early adult students (mean age: 19.8 years) and found that TV viewing and video game playing are linked to increased attention problems in early adulthood and late adolescence/early adulthood. Hence, overall findings indicate a bi-directional causality between video game playing and attention problems/impulsiveness (Weiss et al.; Swing et al.).