Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

ADHD in Children Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

ADHD and Video Games: Is There a Link?

Everything in Moderation

"Too much of anything isn't good for you," says Eugene Arnold, MD, child psychiatrist at Ohio State.

Video games take away the need for what Arnold calls, "effortful attention." According to Arnold, "the game controls what you pay attention to. But kids with ADHD need practice in controlling their attention." So, he stresses restraint. "There's nothing wrong with video games in moderation," Arnold says.

In his practice, he's actually using screen technology that looks a lot like a video game to see if kids with the disorder can increase their concentration. Test subjects control space ships on a screen using their brainwaves. When the mind wanders, the ships go off course. When there's concentration, the ships stay on course.

The experiment is designed to teach kids how to control their brain function. The goal is to reduce the need for medication, which, right now, more than half of all kids diagnosed with ADHD take.

"Practice makes perfect," says Arnold, who stresses that they're not just playing video games. "This is not entertainment," he says. "This is hard work for these kids, who are learning how to take charge of paying attention."

He calls it "brain exercise."

Be Clear With Your Kids

Even without an experiment like Arnold's, video games already are one of the few areas where kids with ADHD can exercise cognitive skills. Games demand that they pay attention, even for a short time. Players must focus in order to achieve the goals of the game. Along the way, there are consequences, both good and bad. This is a concept that works well within the game, and in the real world.

"Whatever the issue is, there are consequences for good and bad behavior. That's what I try to stress to parents," says Larry Rosen, MD, author and research psychologist. He says you must be clear with your kids about the rules when it comes to time spent on video games. "I tell them to negotiate with their kids, make the child part of all decisions on behavior and consequences," Rosen says. He suggests setting caps on the amount of time your child can play video games. "And there should be a break between games," he adds. "Something that doesn't require a screen."

Today on WebMD

doctor writing on clipboard
ARTICLE
mother with child
ASSESSMENT
 
disciplining a boy
ARTICLE
daughter with her unhappy parents
ARTICLE
 
preschool age girl sitting at desk
ARTICLE
Child with adhd
SLIDESHOW
 
father helping son with homework
QUIZ
children in sack race
ARTICLE