Mind Hacks: Electronic media causing ADHD?

April 23, 2006

Mind Hacks: Electronic media causing ADHD? takes up an interesting when it comes to thinking about ADHD and technology. I’ve always had attention issues… long before we ever had a colour television. I think we had a 12 or 14″ black and white TV, and I was not allowed to use the phone for social purposes. You want to call someone to arrange a meeting, fine, but not as a form of social interaction. You walk or ride your bike to a friend’s house. At least until I was 10 yrs old. My attention span was slow short that my parents realized that time-outs for bad behaviour was useless. I’d get sent to my room for doing something, and when a parent would check on me 15 minutes later I’d be playing away, completely forgetting that I was up there for punishment. Even better was when my mom would say “Take out the garbage.” I’d agree to do it and walk right past it on the way out the door. And get yelled at, and not remember why. After about a decade of this bothering Yuka, she finally realized that no matter how hard I tried that sort of attention would never be my thing.

So, when computers came into my life around 1987 they were a godsend. They allowed me to teach myself how to write, organize my thoughts, teach myself in the manner that worked for me. I was using VT100 terminals then, no PCs, but it was great to be able to have 3 terminals all doing different things. I could generate a high enough level of information saturation and start cobbling together a learning environment in which I could excel.

This is my personal opinion, but I have issues, as someone with ADHD, with medication. It is like giving a lobotomy to a genius to bring the child into line. Is learning so much about conformity? Should we not be building learning environments that fully engage children, rather than drigging them into line?

Hopefully, over the decades, I’ll come to a professional opinion in relation to these issues… stay tuned.

2 Responses to “Mind Hacks: Electronic media causing ADHD?”

  1. Maybe it’s ’cause I’m a full blown adult, but no matter what I do with digital technology I still end up marvelling at your abilities to multitask with it & other not so digital technologies — such as when you strum your guitar & we hash out the world’s problems on the phone. I don’t really think there is any hope I’m going to develop ADHD from digital technology. As you know, when it bugs me, I just turn it off!

  2. we certainly should be building engaging learning environments for children, in fact we should be building them for everyone.

    In my experience, there is an incredible balance concering digital technology, attention and organization- ie, the more technology I have, the more I find (or create) to organize- and subsequently view or spend time with (rather than it being stored in a box on a shelf for example)