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The Relationship Between ADHD and Screen Time: What You Need to Know

Oct 27, 2023

It’s almost a given nowadays that you’ll spend too much time on your digital devices. According to a 2021 article by Tech Guide, the average Australian spends 5.5 hours a day on their phone—which equates to 33% of waking hours daily. For those who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the consequences of this are serious. ADHD makes those with the condition prone to diversion and absent-mindedness. Excessive tech usage can exacerbate that to the extreme and cost you hours of productivity.

But that is not inevitable — you can still reclaim your time, focus, and intentionality. To help with that, read on to learn what you need to know about the relationship between ADHD and screen time and what you can do to manage your tech usage.

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Table of Contents

The relationship between ADHD and screen time

Contrary to popular belief, screen time doesn’t directly result in ADHD. According to The Sector, there is no causal link between screen time and symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity. ADHD is a genetic condition with no apparent cause. However, it must be noted that the vibrant colours and endless excitement of the digital world are very appealing to those with ADHD and can disrupt your focus. Additionally, ADHD can also magnify the adverse effects screen time has on your vision, as we will discuss below.

How screen time affects eye health

The ocular health of those with ADHD is sensitive. While the condition isn’t inherently damaging to your eyes, you need to take into account that there is a high prevalence of vision problems among individuals with ADHD, and certain illnesses like Binocular Vision Syndrome can have significant overlap with ADHD symptoms. That’s why you need to be mindful of screen time.

After all, screens leverage high-energy blue light—and too much exposure to it can cause your eyes blurriness, dryness, and even computer vision syndrome. It also disturbs your melatonin production and disrupts your circadian rhythm. This spells bad news for those with ADHD, as your condition makes brain activity difficult to regulate and can already make sleeping difficult. The combination of ADHD and extended screen time is a recipe for sleepless nights, which can cause further eye issues like spasms and bloodshot eyes.

Tips for managing screen time with ADHD

While difficult, moderating your screen time to navigate your ADHD better is possible. Here are a few tips.

Wear blue light glasses

Managing screen time with ADHD is tricky when so much of the world now revolves around mobile devices. The company Grace & Vision Optometrist recommends adults keep recreational screen time to two hours or less. Nevertheless, you might want to invest in blue light glasses that can filter the blue-violet light that disrupts your circadian rhythm, protect your eyes against UV rays, and let essential visible light pass through. The Crizal Prevencia model may be especially helpful for those who have ADHD, as it also reduces distracting reflections, repels dust, and is scratch-resistant—which means these glasses can take more than your average wear-and-tear. Since blue light glasses also filter out harmful light frequencies, some believe that they can also aid in concentration as you'll now have fewer eye issues to distract you.

Use productivity apps

You can also make technology work for you by utilising productivity apps that increase your focus on essential tasks rather than pulling it away to unimportant diversions. Our app, Focus Bear, uses science-based features to help those with ADHD remove digital distractions. You can block bothersome websites and apps across all your devices, leverage visual protocols to enhance your concentration and track your breaks and routine completion through graphs. You’ll even be encouraged to get off your phone and pursue more activities that can help you feel more centred while also expelling excess energy. Over time, you may even develop a new hobby, which can serve as more ways to regulate screen time. With the right productivity app, you’ll be able to get a handle on your ADHD and screen time.

ADHD and screen time have a complex and tumultuous relationship. Follow the above tips to manage it well.

Oct 27, 2023

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