The University of British Columbia recently completed a study that showed that notifications on smartphones can lead to Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder (ADHD) type symptoms. The study is very quick to note that the study does not show that notifications, or smartphones, cause ADHD. What they stated was that the study showed that notifications can cause people to show ADHD type symptoms.
The study consisted of 221 young adults from the University of British Columbia. The 221 students were asked to keep their phones on and close at hand for one week. At the end of the week they were given a questionnaire to decide their levels of attention and hyperactivity.
The students were then asked to complete a second week where they would keep their phones at a distance with alerts off. They were given the same questionnaire at the end of the second week.
The study showed that when the phones were easily accessible and notifications were not disabled, the students began to show the ADHD type symptoms. They described having difficulty staying focused on a specific task, struggling to sit still for extended periods, and a general feeling of distraction and restlessness.
When the notifications and the phones went away the ADHD type symptoms went away. The students were better able to focus, they were able to sit still, they were less fidgety and less distracted.
Kostadin Kushlev, who was responsible for the study, stated that, “Our findings suggest neither that smartphones can cause ADHD nor that reducing smartphone notifications can treat ADHD. The findings simply suggest that our constant digital stimulation may be contributing to an increasingly problematic deficit of attention in modern society.”
Smartphones won’t cause ADHD and taking them away won’t cure it either. The moral of the story is that we all need to slow down and put our phones away, or at least put them on silent mode once in a while.
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Roy likes to dabble in all things Android and contributes everywhere he can. He owns the site rwilco12.com and its accompanying forum, he develops his own apps and ROM’s, is a Moderator and Recognized Developer on XDA-Developers.com and is the VP of Public Relations for AndroidFileHost.com.