Previously, smartphone use was associated with cases of hyperactivity in children. Many studies have found that children who use smartphones have an overactive imagination, which is exacerbated by the use of digital devices and excessive screen time.
A recent study, however, suggests that the current studies may not prove the point. In fact, digital devices only add to the already high level of activity. As a result, the relationship between digital devices and hyperactivity/attention deficit is bidirectional, with bidirectional effects influencing one another.
According to a study conducted at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) in Hungary, hyperactive children require constant stimulation to remain alert. Mobile devices’ fast-paced video games and movies frequently increase the level of attention.
The Alpha Generation Lab at ELTE’s Department of Ethology conducted the study to examine the impact of digital devices on children. A questionnaire was distributed to the parents of preschool children aged four to six years old. The questions concerned their child’s use of a mobile device or tablet, as well as behavioral issues. The same questionnaire was used to contact the parents three years later. The children were aged seven to nine at the time.
Researchers discovered that agitated children are more likely to use digital devices.
“Children who are fidgety and restless are more likely to use digital devices.” Meanwhile, parents are more likely to engage their children in technological activities. We discovered that preschool hyperactivity and attention deficit predicted the amount of mobile use in school. The more fidgety and distracted a preschooler is, the more gadgetry they use in elementary school. This is explained by the fact that parents are more likely to use digital devices to distract or engage their children, and the children themselves are more likely to seek exciting and intense content.” Veronika Konok, head of the Alpha Generation Lab’s research team, concluded in the statement.
The researchers also discovered that children with social problems use mobile phones more, but only when they are in school. They were unable to determine whether early mobile use causes later social problems or vice versa. As a result, the question of cause and effect is murky, and there is most likely a two-way relationship: neither the chicken nor the egg came first.