Screen Time in the Craziness of Quarantine

Hi, everyone. It’s been so long since I’ve posted, but I’m just going to jump right back in talking again about screen time!

Trying figuring out how much screen time to give ourselves and our young people is a challenge. During the COVID-19 pandemic, things have become so much more complicated. It would be easier if our brains all worked the same, but, of course, they don’t. Brains with ADHD have physiologically differences that mean they need more stimulation than brains that are more . . . let’s just say conventional. I personally like my ADD brain much of the time, because it leads me all kinds of interesting places. However, I know that it can get addicted to kitten rescue videos or go down the Katy Perry rabbit hole, so I need the discipline to step away.

“Activities such as video games, streaming media, and social media, which produce instant and continuous stimulation, can therefore be considered ‘high dopamine activities’ (HDA). In fact, metabolic imaging studies confirm that these activities produce a large amount of dopamine flow. Kids with ADHD are usually driven towards HDA. Due to poorer function in the prefrontal cortex, however, they lack the brakes they need to stop these HDA activities in favor of ‘low dopamine activities’ (LDA), activities that produce more delayed gratification.”

Attention Magazine, October 2020

Back in October, the instant gratification of kitten rescue videos greatly out-weighed the payoff of reading articles or working on taxes. With the added stress of a new school year, it was particularly important to pull it together. I was doing myself no favors by getting stuck in an HDA-spiral. (Back off, Katy Perry!)

The more we engage in activities that offer instant gratification, the more we risk stunting a our ability to engage appropriately in LDA like music class, visits with relatives, or even dinner with the family. One approach to limiting these negative outcomes is to schedule blocks of LDA every day.

The entire article is linked below. If you’ve not already checked out, take a look now. They have resources for parents, caregivers, and educators, as well as for those of us who have ADHD. It’s one of the best sites I’ve found for both adults and children.

Most of my students have returned to on-site schooling, but I will continue to teach online for the foreseeable future. Please contact me if you have any questions or want to discuss remote tutoring for your student.
And wear your mask!