Technology Impacting Youth

January 13, 2010

I went to my Mass Media and Society class today and we had some interesting discussions. Brief though because we went over the class syllabus, but still attractive.

My teacher said some research shows that technology is affecting our brain development. The research poses the idea that our attention spans decreases through generations. True or no?

Well, I think it might be. I mean, ADHD and ADD are increasing in diagnoses for one thing. I see more people my age and younger multitasking like no ones business. I know this one kid, 11 years old (about to be 12 in Feb), he can have the tv on, listen to music on his iphone, and play World Of Warcraft (WOW) on his computer. Crazy. Another kid, senior in high school, I saw play a game on this computer with music and play tetris on his phone. It is like they are not entertained enough so they pull a bunch of technology together. You see less kids playing outside and more obesity. Through the years, cells are getting into the hands of younger and younger kids. I mean there’s a toy phone for babies even!

Technology is really forming society these days. Our older generation is trying to keep up but it is still sad to see an old lady trying to figure out how to rent a dvd from redbox or fill out a check at a cash register during a long line. So you have to always keep up to survive, or be left behind now that technology is getting more advanced.

So is this true? And if it is…is having a short attention span a bad thing in these days? I mean will the skill of being able to do more than one thing help us move forward in our future jobs and/or family? Or will it hurt us in that it will hinder our ability to be entertained and not focus on family and other things that require more attention and focus? Heck, It might be good and bad.


Understanding Children with ADHD

February 4, 2008

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a growing learning disability for children. Children with ADHD have problems with attention, impulsivity, hyperactivity, impaired sense of time, poor decision making and demonstrate risky behavior. This diagnosis is a misunderstood disability. Dealing with ADHD is no easy task especially for children. They deal with many problems that include having a excess amount of pent up energy during school, making friends with low self images, and dealing with different treatments in order to fit into society and function better in academics. These children face numerous problems in which people must understand when it comes to ADHD. Children with ADHD have to face issues in the classroom, in their social life, and with medication.

Recess has been a part of school since 1950s and before. Children were able to take a break from their studies and play on playgrounds and fields midday from their day of school work. However, since the 1980s, people started to question the purpose of recess. Parents began demanding better quality schools, making the school cut out recess or shorten it to fit in the high demands of society. Researchers wondered if recess was a necessary activity for children so they conducted an experiment. They looked at 43 students from fourth grade and from those 43 students, five students had ADHD. The researchers found out that the children with ADHD were able to focus and do better after recess. They also saw that the lack of recess increases bad behavior for children with ADHD as well as bad performance in school. Demolishing recess creates a learning problem for the children that are diagnosed with ADHD. By having recess, children with ADHD are able to release excess energy and are able to focus better afterwards. Studies have also shown the same yet not as extreme results with children that do not have ADHD (Ridgway, 2003). Therefore, recess has proven to play an important role in schools for ADHD students due to their energy levels.

Another importance of recess is that it makes school time not seem as long and dragging than it really is. According to Ronald Baldwin, children with ADHD have trouble identifying a time period. He suggests that not being able to identify a time period has something to do with the child’s memory. With ADHD children, they tend to perceive a period of time to be longer than it really is. This plays a role against ADHD children because it would cause them to dislike school due to its appearance to be too long therefore losing interest in the academic field (Baldwin 2004). I have a little brother with ADD and ADHD and he struggles with homework at home every day becuase for him the homework is more than it really is. When it would take an average time of 15 mins, its like 40 min for him. He gets tired, fustrated, and annoyed everytime we have to sit down and help him with homework.

Children with ADHD also face problems with maintaining interest in learning. Without a constant stimulus, the children lose interest fairly quickly. A way to keep the attention of a child that has ADHD is to set motivation for them by setting a goal that has a reward. According to familydocter.org, by creating healthy goals that has a reward for the child will maintain their focus and are more willing to accomplish the tasks given to them (ADHD). Part of the problem to which why kids have problem with learning is becuase of the way they are entertained today. With video games and television increaseing as the primary source of entertainment, children with ADHD like my brother expect to be entertained at school like they are when they watch TV or play X-box. Another way to increase the attention span of a child that has ADHD is to have these kids on a nutritious diet. Dr. Frank Lawlis states, “The brain is not receiving enough nutrients so it functions at a lower level.” By having an unhealthy diet children would not receive the nutrients that they need to function better. Due to their lack of nutrients, these ADHD children face difficulty in school due to their low levels (Lawlis 129). Doing poorly in school would not help increase an ADHD child’s confidence.

Children with ADHD have negative self perspectives. This low self esteem could contribute to how their social lives are being played out. A study was conducted to investigate if there were any social problems for these children. There are 165 children involved with ADHD and have a same sex partner for comparison that do not have ADHD. Using sociometric procedures, the experimenters were able to observe that children with ADHD were less well liked, were not high on the social scale, are more often rejected and had fewer amount of friends than the children that did not have the learning disability. They also saw that children with ADHD had less positive imbalance as well as greater negative imbalance than their comparison child. This negativity is seen as a problem for the social and personal aspects for these children (Hoza, 2005). My brother always thinks negative of himself and when you tell him to do something he takes it as an attack towards him. Its very fustrating.

Medication and treatment is a difficult to asses. Knowing how to treat a child that has this particular learning disability is an issue in itself. Will medication be the right answer to treating an ADHD child? To find this out, researchers did a study to find out if the prescription drugs such as amphetamine or methylphenidate really do help these children learn and behave better. The experimenters tested the effects of stimulant medication for children with ADHD in order to see if any progress was made while doing certain five activities including the DMTS test. There are 18 children, 13 males and 5 females, whom have ADHD and were given amphetamine or Methylphenidate. On the first medication (The doses in milligrams/kilograms ranged from 0.151 to 0.624) each child was to be tested once 60 to 90 min after taking the first medication. Then the children are tested again 18 hours after the first medication. These sessions are separated by at least seven days but no more than thirty days. Results demonstrate that children with ADHD performed better with the medication. By taking the medication, there are improvements in accuracy, memory, response rates, and focus as well as a decrease in bad behavior (Chelonis 2002). Even though the results of these drugs helped the children focus, the question remains if there are better and healthier procedures in treating an ADHD child.

James Jones, one of the psychologists of the following experiment, argues that drugs are not the right treatment for ADHD children (2002). He argues that these children are misunderstood by peers, teachers, and parents. There was a 6.8% to 18.7% increase of visits to the doctor with children from four to fifteen year olds in a community of 425 pediatricians. It seems that parents are ignoring the base of problems that their child faces and are only trying to treat the symptoms of their diagnosis. By treating conscious and unconscious family dynamics we might be able to treat the learning disability better. Children with ADHD usually have feelings of rejection and other negative feelings which should not be overlooked. Overlooking such negative self conceptions, the children might develop problems socially for the future (Jones, 2002).

These children face numerous problems in which people must understand when it comes to ADHD. Children with this learning disability have to face issues in the classroom, in their social life, and with medication or treatment. By attempting and actually understanding this diagnosis, society can help create a better environment for these children.

Reference Page

Baldwin, R., Chelonis, J., Flake, R., Edwards, M., Feild, C., Meaux, J., et al. (2004). Effect of methylphenidate on time perception in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 12, 57-64.

Chelonis, J., Edwards, M., Schulz, E., Baldwin, R., Blake, D., Wenger, A., et al. (2002). Stimulant medication improves recognition memory in children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 10, 400-407.

Hoza, B., et al. (2005). What aspects of peer relationships are impaired in children with attentiondeficit/hyperactivity disorder? Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73, 411-423.

Jones, J. (2002). Plea for a measure of understanding: The importance of intensive psychotherapy in the treatment of children with ADHD. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 39, 12-20.

Ridgway, A., Northup, J., Pellegrin, A., LaRue, R., & Hightsoe, A. (2003). Effects of recess on the classroom behavior of children with and without attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. School Psychology Quarterly, 18, 253-268.