Discouraged Over Technology Use with ADHD? Take these Steps!
The 2020 holiday season will be one where we are connecting with family and friends far and wide, many of us grateful for technology. At the same time, when we live with ADHD, we can feel disconnected when we’re faced with the overuse of mobile phones, multi-tasking on multiple devices, and an always-on lifestyle through technology.
ADHD, Technology Overuse & Internet Gaming Disorder
While multi-device technology allows for a variety of ongoing conversations and tasks to take place at the same time, it can also be a persistent source of distraction for all of us. Add to the mix the consistent interruptions, back and forth bouncing between devices, and decision fatigue from judging which to prioritize, each media-related task gets partial attention. In a world where we crave human connection, we feel drained, cheated, and frustrated.
According to numerous studies, there is a high correlation between ADHD and multi-communicating, which is the tendency to communicate on more than one device at the same time (Seo, Kim, and David, 2015). The result is a mixed bag. Multi-device usage can satisfy the need for consistent stimulation in a person with ADHD. But heavy media multitaskers tend to get derailed by these external distractors (Cain & Mitroff, 2011; Minear, Brasher, McCurdy, Lewis & Younggren, 2013). For example, you or your child could be researching a project online; you notice a YouTube video that caught your eye, you click on it, then another one pops up, and before you know it, several hours have slipped by.
This can happen to all of us, but with an ADHD'er, the ability to resist an impulse is more difficult to control, especially with the external distractions of multi-media.
Internet gaming disorder is an excessive preoccupation with gaming past the time when actively playing games. For instance, during school hours, a young adult could be thinking about what it will take to move to the next level, a mistake they made when playing a game, or new strategies as soon they can get back into playing a game. Other signs may include a loss of interest in non-gaming activities, and tenacious gaming even with the awareness of school or work difficulties. There can also be intense and overpowering arguments with friends or coworkers about gaming.
ADHD, Media, and the Need for Belonging
Texting, online gaming, FaceTime messaging, WeChat, and other modes of online interactions provide the social motivation of belonging and address the need for acceptance from others.
Games today can foster oftentimes anonymous online social connections, giving people a sense of belonging, and some games provide the chance at a new personality.
The paradox is although online engagement provides social reassurance, it most often leads to being always on, constantly checking messages, and being perpetually available on one’s devices. Moreover, multiplayer online role-playing games can mean assuming a personality that can be violent, keeping to online time minimums, or being sold for lots of money.
Here are three strategies to help you take steps to address technology overuse when living with ADHD.
Evaluate the Problem Behavior
Identify Offline Activities with Agency
Although we're all grateful for technology during these uncertain times, when living with ADHD, we can feel disconnected when we’re faced with the overuse of technology. To address technology overuse:
• Evaluate the Problem Behavior
• Stop Enabling
• Identify Offline Activities with Agency
Experiment with some of these and let me know how it goes for you!
PS. Need more assistance with technology overuse for yourself or your loved one?
Contact me for an ADHD Strategy Assessment and we can talk about some solutions you can put into place now!
Transforming Parents Lives®