How much do kids with ADHD play video games?


Parents and teachers have long noticed how children with ADHD and other executive function disorders seem to be drawn to video game play. Psychologists who are researching this topic have begun to ask whether children with ADHD play more or simply differently than the peers. For the most part, previous data collected by psychologists indicate that children with ADHD are very similar to other children in their engagement with video games and other technology. There are a few exceptions, however.

For example, Drs. Russell Barkley and Mariellen Fischer found that a select group of teenagers with ADHD tended to become overly involved in video game play, displaying some addictive tendencies. Another study by Vivienne Lawrence found that children with ADHD were less adept in video game problem-solving than their peers. However, most of the research data on video game play amongst children with ADHD suggests that they play for about the same amount of time and the same level of success as their non-ADHD peers.

The team at LearningWorks for Kids has been collecting information about video game play and app use from the parents of children with ADHD for the past 3 years. Much to our surprise, the preliminary data indicates that children with ADHD are less engaged with video game technology than their peers. However, we realize the need to account for the fact that we ask parents to compile weekly estimates of game play rather than complete a daily diary (such as that used in the Kaiser Foundation study).

We have presented our studies and other relevant research at a variety of conferences. To learn more about how kids with ADHD are engaged with video games and other digital media, take a look at the PowerPoint presentation we have made available here.

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